UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Ecuador - Ministerio de Defensa Nacional

After numerous assertions by Wellington Sandoval that he would not step down as Minister of Defense, his resignation was announced 09 April 2008. A series of events undermined his tenure as MOD. Following the March 1 Colombian attack, Sandoval had to explain why the Ecuadorian military did not have prior knowledge of or capability to detect the Colombian incursion. Most damaging, however, was the failure of the Ecuadorian military to inform President Correa that Franklin Aisalla, an Ecuadorian victim of the March 1 attack, had ties to the FARC. Correa accused the GOE's intelligence services, and specifically the military intelligence service, of infiltration by the CIA and of passing information to Colombia, saying that there would be repercussions.

A civil-military seminar entitled "Strategic Challenges and Opportunities," sponsored by the USG and held in Quito April 7-10 with Ecuadorian military participants, was played in the press on April 8 as further unwanted intervention by the USG, although attended by the Vice-Minister of Defense (who retains his position) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In response to the press coverage and the President's accusations, the Commander of the Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Hector Camacho, and the commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force on April 8 formally and publicly requested a meeting with the President "to maintain an open and transparent dialogue on this issue to avoid putting the security and stability of the nation at risk." The Ministry of Defense issued a statement on April 8 that the Ecuadorian military's cooperation "with other countries and national and foreign institutions on issues of security, defense and development are permanent and legitimate." This statement also defends the USG seminar as "within the processes of training and cooperation established with various countries, and in this case with the U.S. Embassy."

Principal Under Secretary of Defense Miguel Carvajal announced on April 9 that the President's Personal Secretary, Javier PONCE Cevallos, would replace Wellington Sandoval and be sworn in the same day. Carvajal said in an interview that Sandoval's departure was not due to pressures within the Armed Forces, but rather concern over weaknesses in the system of intelligence of both the military and police.

Javier PONCE Cevallos, who served as the President's Personal Secretary since August 14, 2007, was tasked with coordinating the activities of the President's office with all cabinet ministers. Ponce is a native of Quito, born on April 28, 1948, and has worked mostly as a journalist and writer. He started his career as a journalist covering the Constituent Assembly of 1966, and has closely followed social and rural development issues and the indigenous movement. Ponce was an editorialist for El Universo from 2001 to 2007 and Hoy from 1989-2001, and authored 15 books, including novels, poetry and political commentary. Ponce studied sociology and political science at the Central University of Ecuador in 1968-1970 and sociology at the University of Vincennes, France in 1970-1972.

Defense Minister Javier Ponce was confirmed 28 March 2012 as the new Minister of Agriculture. his replacement was unknown in the defense portfolio. According to the sources that had access La República, Ponce would take possession of his new role in mid-April.

Fernando Cordero was confirmed in September 2014 as the new Minister of Defense. Cordero had been president of the Constituent Assembly of Montecristi following the resignation of Alberto Acosta. Then he was President of the National Assembly, from 31 July 2009. He had been in various positions in the government. He was chairman of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute, an entity in which it was since June 2013 for 10 months until March 19, 2014.

Fernando Cordero resigned his post as minister of Defense on 01 March 2016 after an impasse with the military for the anticipated cessation of the military leadership. Correa askeded him to resign. It was not necessary: "??the weather in the Ministry of Defense looked unbreathable". Cordero's friends spoke of a minister who was worn out, who had to pay for mistakes made by others. Before leaving, Cordero submitted two ministerial agreements with the aim of eliminating inequalities in the Armed Forces. One stated equality in the use of facilities, food and benefits between ordinary soldiers and officers. Meanwhile the second agreement established the enrolment to military schools through tests.

On 04 March 2016 President Rafael Correa announced he will sign the executive decrees to formalize the appointment of Ricardo Patiño as new minster of Defense and Guillaume Long as head of the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry. The head of state affirmed he will issue an executive decree in the following days to strengthen the ministerial agreements and completely eliminate differences between retirement pensions of the military and the rest of the civil society.

Patino was head of the Foreign Ministry since January 2010. Before he was in front of the portfolios of Economy and Policy Coordination. Ricardo Patiño, born in Guayaquil (southwest) and economist by training, has held various positions in government since Rafael Correa came to power in 2007, including the finance minister during that year. He was also Chairman of the Commission for the Integral Audit of Public Credit, from July 2007 to January 2009, later he served as Coordinating Minister for Politics (December 2007-January 2010). Since 2010 when he assumed the Chancellery, the figure became very visible internationally, especially with participation in the support and asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Patino was concerned primarily to promote the strengthening of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), through the creation of its first institutions.

The First Constituent Assembly of Ecuador, meeting in the city of Riobamba on August 14, 1830, in Article No. 38, second section, established the creation of the Office of the Interior and Foreign Ministry of Finance and the Chief War and Navy, whose functions and areas of action constitutes the basis of the current Ministry of National Defense. In 1843, the Chief of Army and Navy adopted the name of the Ministry of War and Navy. Later, by decree of December 9, 1930, it was renamed the Ministry of War, Navy and Air Force. The Ministry of Defense named by Executive Decree of September 26, 1935.

This portfolio of State in Quito was located in the area known as "La Recoleta". In colonial times the limit of the city was set by the Machángara river. This fact motivated the Dominican Fray Pedro Bedón to acquire land in the area, build a convent and founded in the year 1600 the "Recoleta of Our Lady of the Rock of France" with the goal of establishing in it a community dedicated to a life more austere and strict observance of the rules recollection. That was how the name of the congregation went to the whole sector.

Three centuries later, President Eloy Alfaro Delgado ordered the construction of a palace for an International Exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the First Cry of Independence. The so-called Exhibition Palace was built in La Recoleta and inaugurated on August 10, 1909. On September 8 the same year, opened its doors for the exhibition, in which Chile, Colombia, Peru, France, the United States participated, Spain, Italy, Japan and Ecuador. The design of the palace followed the Pompeian neoclassical style and was inspired by models introduced to the country by Italian architect Giacomo Radiconcini in the early twentieth century.

The Constitution of 1979 defines the armed forces as a nondeliberative body and an instrument of civil authority--an inaccurate reflection of the true civil-military relationship in Ecuador. According to the Constitution, the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces and the only one authorized to grant military ranks. The mission of the Public Forces (the armed forces and the National Police) is to preserve national sovereignty, to defend the integrity and independence of the republic, and to guarantee its legal order. The Constitution further enjoins the Public Forces, in a manner to be determined by law, to lend their cooperation in national economic and social development.

National Security Act Number 275 of 1979 authorized the president to mobilize forces during threats of aggression and to declare a state of national emergency at times of imminent aggression, major disturbances, and domestic disasters. This law also established the NSC, chaired by the president, to make recommendations on, and supervise execution of, national security policies. NSC members included the president of the National Congress; the president of the Supreme Court of Justice; the chairs of the National Development Council and the Monetary Board; the ministers of foreign relations, national defense, government and justice, and finance and credit; and the chief of the Joint Command.

The Secretariat General, the NSC's operational arm, coordinated and helped shape national security planning. Secretariat personnel primarily consisted of active-duty or retired officers. Analysts considered it to be a subordinate arm of the Joint Command, whose chief nominated the head of the secretariat, ordinarily an army general. The secretariat directly supervised the National Directorate of Mobilization, the National Directorate of Civil Defense, the Institute of Higher National Studies, and the National Directorate of Intelligence. Although the latter body was designed to coordinate all intelligence activities, its head had a lower rank than the chief of army intelligence.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 01-08-2016 17:47:29 ZULU