WikiLeaks paper reveals Ecuadorian private business elites declared war on Rafael Correa right after his election and asked for US support
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A cable from March, 2007, only two months after the election of Rafael Correa as President of Ecuador, provides impressive details about the campaign that the Ecuadorian private business elites already started against the new Leftist president.
A group of business leaders rushed to design a certain strategy that included a series of actions. It appears that they requested US assistance to confront Correa's policies. Apart from that, they were organizing propaganda campaigns on radio and TV stations using even specific techniques - like provoking Correa to respond in an inappropriate manner in order to harm his popularity. Finally, they clearly admit that they should put a lot of money to opposition political figures to challenge effectively the Correa administration in Constituent Assembly.
It appears that the leader of this business cabal is Guillermo Lasso who has been also the leader of Ecuador's right-wing opposition in the latest presidential elections. Recall that Lasso vowed to end asylum for Julian Assange in case he would have been elected. This strongly indicates that Lasso made some kind of deal with the US to get strong support and deliver Assange to Washington's hawks in exchange.
Correa's successor, Lenin Moreno, finally won the elections, but he appears to be a traitor who increasingly slips towards the control of the US empire. Now, Ecuador is going after not only Julian Assange, but even Rafael Correa under the pretext of some false accusations, as it seems.
It's also quite interesting the comment at the end of the cable by the then US Ambassador to Ecuador, as it seems. According to this, the "Traditional leaders of the Ecuadorian business community" are "very frustrated with their limited access to the Correa administration, blocked from exercising "politics as usual" in guiding policy-making (often to advance particular rather than national interests)."
A number of Ecuadorian private sector contacts have approached the Embassy and Consulate to air their concerns about President Correa's political and economic intentions. Mostly, the concerns have been heartfelt but lacked specificity. The most common theme is that Correa intends to follow Chavez's model of "21st Century Socialism" by increasing presidential control over other democratic and economic institutions, but there is great uncertainty over actual measures Correa would seek to implement.
Typical of a tradition of looking to others to do their heavy lifting, some hope and urge that the United States will take a leading role in challenging Correa's policy. We have emphasized the importance of domestic sectors working toward consensus and offering responsible alternatives as a necessary pre-condition before any international engagement can be truly effective.
Guillermo Lasso, President of the Banco de Guayaquil, on March 12 briefed the Ambassador on a systematic effort he is coordinating to develop a cohesive private sector response to the Correa administration's policy. A group that he had formed, Ecuador Libre, has worked with former El Salvadoran President Francisco Flores to analyze the risks that Correa administration might take. He stressed that the analysis was completed before Correa took office, and noted how the threats are now indeed being realized.
Lasso said that he had shared the analysis with the business community in meetings with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Initially the business contacts were nervous about doing anything, but one by one they called him to sign up to an effort to counter Correa's policies.
Lasso said that he also talked to opposition leaders Lucio Gutierrez (former president), Alvaro Noboa (presidential runner-up), and Jaime Nebot (mayor of Guayaquil), but there are real limits to working with these political leaders. Gutierrez is willing to work with the business community, but only on his terms. According to Lasso, Noboa does not understand what is going on in Ecuador. Nebot is the smartest of the three, but has chosen to frame his role as defending local Guayaquil interests (e.g., the status of the Guayaquil port), rather than seeking the mantle of leader of the national opposition to the Correa agenda.
Lasso reported that the business community had launched one series of radio spots, which featured a Venezuelan voice discussing the situation in Venezuela and an Ecuadorian voice responding that she would not want the same situation to develop in Ecuador. He also cited the spot as an example of how the Correa administration will attempt to exercise control ) he said that the government called up the radio stations and told them to pull the spots (although it lacked legal authority to do so) and that the company that designed and placed the spots quit out of fear.
Lasso said that when the government learns of the private sector's efforts, it will respond with a "hard blow." He did not ask for extensive support from the Embassy, except to request that the USG echo the private sector's appeal for individual freedoms should the private sector come under fire from the government.
In a meeting with the Ambassador on March 27, three newly elected officials of the Pichincha (i.e., Quito) Chamber of Industries (President of the Board Francisco Roldan, Vice President Diego Fernandez-Salvador, and Executive President Sebastian Borja) echoed the same themes, although they did not make any reference to an organized, Ecuador-wide business response to Correa. They said that they would seek to avoid confrontation with Correa, which would only increase his popularity. Instead, they would pursue a positive message focused on democratic and economic principles.
On March 30, the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce published an advertisement directed at Correa, entitled "No, Mr. President." The ad said that any member of the Chamber that demands respect for his or her rights is not an enemy but an Ecuadorian, and demanding liberty of association, expression, judicial security and other basic rights is not opposition, but a way to build the country.
Maria Gloria Alarcon, President of Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce, told the Ambassador on March 29 to look for the advertisement. She said the Chamber was placing the ad on Friday in hopes of provoking a strong reaction by Correa during his Saturday radio show. Alarcon said that polling shows that Ecuadorians do not like Correa's aggressive attacks, which lower his popularity. Thus the ad has the double purpose of presenting a positive message while potentially getting Correa to respond inappropriately.
Maria Gloria Alarcon said that she views the Constituent Assembly as inevitable, and noted that an internal poll of her chamber's membership showed a surprising 68% supported the Assembly. However, she said, the business community intends to raise questions in the public mind about Correa's objectives for the Constituent Assembly ) she mentioned the radio spots, and said the business community is also planning to place television ads. She echoed Pena in saying that the business community is examining candidates for the Constituent Assembly, saying that it is a careful balancing act of identifying candidates who can win votes, have the right views on constitutional changes, and are sufficiently strong to resist pressure and overtures from the Correa administration. She said that whomever business community decides to support will "have a lot of money" to support their campaign.
Alarcon asserted that Ecuador is not Venezuela, noting that Venezuela does not have a "Guayaquil" to serve as a bastion of opposition to the government's policies. In contrast, she said, Bolivia does have its "Guayaquil" (in Santa Cruz), implying that opponents of radical change in Ecuador would be able to stymie Correa's more radical agenda.
Traditional leaders of the Ecuadorian business community are deeply concerned with the possible direction of the Correa administration's economic and political policies. They are also very frustrated with their limited access to the Correa administration, blocked from exercising "politics as usual" in guiding policy-making (often to advance particular rather than national interests).