|09QUITO375||2009-05-21 17:34:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Quito|
1. (C) The Embassy provides the following information on the
relationship between the Cuban government and Ecuador in
response to reftel.
2. (C) Ecuador has not worked to promote the advancement of
democracy and human rights in Cuba, nor has it undertaken
governmental action to condemn human rights abuses or to
support civil society in Cuba. On the contrary, President
Correa and members of his cabinet paid an official visit to
Cuba in January 2009, during which Correa declared himself an
unconditional ally of Cuba. He commended the Cuban
revolution and claimed it had succeeded in ensuring human
rights for all Cubans. Correa has since also made several
calls for the U.S. to end its "blockade" against Cuba.
3. (C) According to press reports, 100 Ecuadorians received
scholarships for study in Cuba in 2008, especially in
medicine, and a similar number of scholarships have been
issued annually. Some government officials are known to have
studied in Cuba.
4. (SBU) Ecuador does not have significant economic or
political interests in Cuba. During Correa's official trip
to Cuba in January 2009, the two countries signed nine
bilateral agreements in the areas of health, trade, culture,
sports, science and technology, electricity and renewable
energy, economic cooperation, reciprocal visa treatment for
government officials, and political consultations. An MOU to
negotiate expansion of the economic cooperation agreement
between the two countries was also signed. Cuban doctors
also operate within Ecuador.
5. (C) Comment: The signing of cooperation agreements
between Ecuador and Cuba does not necessarily signal
increased cooperation in the future. Ecuador has signed
agreements with many countries which have been largely
political and symbolic in nature.