The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ecuador Creates New Police Intelligence Unit

QUITO – Ecuador’s National Police announced the creation of a new unit to battle organized crime, which will replace the controversial Special Investigations Unit, or UIES, that had been financed by the United States Embassy in Quito until recently.

Police commander Jaime Hurtado said Friday that the new unit will be in charge of consolidating intelligence operations that for 23 years have been carried out by the UIES, the press secretary of the president’s office said.

Hurtado said that the new unit will have the mission of countering criminal mafias of the international drug trade, economic crime, people trafficking and terrorism.

“The unit will be an important support for all police investigation agencies aimed at combating organized crime,” the commander said.

He also said that the unit “will maintain a high level of cooperation with similar international agencies within the framework of transparent agreements based on policies laid down by the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and other authorities charged with national security at home and abroad.”

He also said that domestically the new unit will provide “support for the work carried out by the Attorney General’s Office” and other elements of the Ecuadorian judiciary.

He said that Col. Juan Carlos Rueda of the police high command will head the new unit, and recalled that the latter has held several important posts in the department, plus serving as attache to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Lima and as a member of the now-defunct UIES.

He added that the Council of Police Generals created the unit and named it after Maj. Eduardo Zea Lopez, an ex-member of the department who died in 1989 on a mission against organized crime.

The creation of the new unit is part of the comprehensive restructuring of national police-intelligence agencies promoted by the government of leftist President Rafael Correa and including the dismantling of the UIES, questioned for its close ties to the U.S. Embassy and the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, of that country.

In February Ecuador’s foreign minister announced that U.S. Embassy First Secretary Mark Sullivan was being expelled for interfering in the internal workings of the Andean nation’s police.

Fander Falconi told a press conference the decision to declare Sullivan persona non grata was based on a report from the National Police high command detailing the diplomat’s meddling.

Sullivan sought to condition continuing U.S. aid to the National Police on his having a say in personnel decisions, Falconi said.

He said the first secretary was given 48 hours to leave the country.

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