Paco Moncayo, and two other generals in passive service, Fabián Varela and Euclides Mantilla, were invited by President Lenín Moreno to be part of a Security Council, regarding the problem on the northern border. The former mayor of Quito and former presidential candidate assures that the meetings with the president will be periodic and that it is Moreno’s decision to adopt his recommendations.
On what terms did the rapprochement take place to advise the president and the government?
Well, it was public, the president invited three generals in passive service. We talked for an hour about the issue of the northern border and general security in the country. From this conversation came the need for us to keep in touch with him in order to be able to recommend him in case of decisions that should be taken in the area of security.
What is the scope of the recommendations, taking into account that one of the functions of the Public Security Council and the State (Cosepe) is to advise the president on national security?
The issue, in my opinion, is of another nature. Here there are no straitjackets for a president, because as president and as is Lenin Moreno, he understands that it is good to listen to those who know about the different subjects. It is not constrained by the Constitution or by law that cannot ask for recommendations.
Does not having the president take them into account suggest that the Cosepe is not working?
They are two completely different things. The Cosepe meets to discuss specific issues, not that they recommend, but rather that they receive recommendations. But this has nothing to do with the president asking for advice from someone who has written books, who have sent in the war…
Will they have any relationship with the Cosepe, will they be part of this organization?
No. The president himself has said: ‘These gentlemen all their life study these issues (of security), they know them, and I wish I could have experts to recommend me’, and that is what he has done. The Ministry of Security is not an organization within a structure, nothing.
What were the first recommendations that you gave to the president?
That is not to publish in the press or to discuss it publicly; they are issues that we have talked with the president. The only one who could make them public is him.
What answers have you had from Moreno?
I do not know what the president does, but he was very open to discuss the issues of the problem we are facing, and it will be his decision. The recommendation, the advice, does not put us in any line of decision. The president is very open to listen to experts in different areas, and that’s good; because he does not think himself wise, nor that he dominates everything, nor that he understands everything and that he can act in all fields.
You asked to trust in the Armed Forces and the Police, what to do if, according to the president himself, they are institutions that were depleted by the previous regime?
Just as El Universo is not you, nor four, nor five or ten; it is an institution, the Armed Forces, although they may have rifles from 25 years ago, not have vests, have no helmets, have values, have principles, are an institution that has also endured ten years of an attitude hostile from the previous Government. Then, you can buy rifles, vests, night visors, but if you do not have the human resource, the healthy institution will not be able to do anything. You ca not buy well-trained human beings with principles and values that make institutions exist.
“The president is very open to listening to experts in different areas, and that is good because he does not think he is wise, that he does not dominate everything, nor that he can act in all fields. ” Paco Moncayo, Former Chief of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces. (I)