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Cryptonym: ECACTOR

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ECACTOR was probably a CIA Quito Station anti-Communist political-action program, which funded and supported selected leaders of the Conservative Party and the Social Christian Movement.
Philip Agee, former CIA officer, in his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary, claimed Aurelio Davila Cajas was ECACTOR-1, Rafael Arizaga was ECACTOR-2, Carlos Arizaga Vega was ECACTOR-3, and Jorge Gortaire was ECACTOR-4. These are undocumented, and, therefore, speculative.


Inside the Company, CIA Diary (1975) by Philip Agee: Pages 102-103: "ECACTOR. The most important station operation for anticommunist political action consists of funding and guidance to selected leaders of the Conservative Party and the Social Christian Movement. The operation developed from the most important station penetration agent of the Ponce government, Renato Perez Drouet, who was Secretary-General of the Administration under Ponce and has since returned to manage his Quito travel agency. Through Perez, the station now finances the anti-communist propaganda and political action of the Social Christian Movement, of which Perez is a leader. Before the 1960 election campaign Perez proposed to Noland the support of a young engineer, Aurelio Davila Cajas, ECACTOR-1, whom Noland began to cultivate. Davila intensified his activities in the Conservative Party and with station financing he was elected in June to the Chamber of Deputies, representing the distant and sparsely populated Amazonian province of Napo. Davila is now the fastest rising young leader in the Conservative Party and very closely associated with the Catholic Church hierarchy which the party represents in politics. He is an outspoken and militant anti-communist and is considered by Noland, moreover, to have an enlightened stance on social reform. The station is now helping him to build up his personal political organization, which is branching out into student politics at the Catholic university. Normal communications between Noland and Davila, and the passage of funds, is through Renato Perez. In emergencies, however, messages and money are passed via Barbara Svegle, the station secretary-typist, who rents an apartment in Davila's apartment-building where the agent also lives." (CONTINUED BELOW)


"Also through Renato Perez, Noland cultivated and eventually recruited Rafael Arizaga, ECACTOR-2, who is the principal leader of the Conservative Party in Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city. Through this agent Noland financed Conservative Party-candidates in Cuenca including the agent's son, Carlos Arizaga Vega, ECACTOR-3, who was elected to the provincial council of Azuay — the province of which Cuenca is capital. Communications with this branch of the ECACTOR operation are difficult, but usually Noland travels to Cuenca for meetings although the principal agent may go to Quito. Funds channelled through this project are now being spent on anti-communist propaganda, student politics at the University of Cuenca, and local militant street-action by Conservative Party youth groups. Another agent has recently been added in order to fulfil the project's goals in Ecuador's fourth largest city, Ambato, another sierra provincial capital. The agent is Jorge Gortaire, ECACTOR-4, a retired Army colonel who has recently returned from service on the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington. Gortaire is on the list of pro-Ponce military officers now being purged. In 1956 he was elected as functional Senator for the Armed Forces, but he served only part of his term before being assigned by Ponce to the Inter-American Defense Board. In Washington he was cultivated by a CIA headquarters officer assigned to spot and assess potential agent material in the delegations to the Defense Board, and reports on Gortaire were forwarded to the Quito station. Noland has initiated contact with Gortaire and the Ecuadorean desk is processing clearance for use of this agent in anticommunist political action and propaganda in Ambato. Special importance is attached to this new agent because the mayor of Ambato is a Revolutionary Socialist and is using the municipal government machinery to promote infiltration by the extreme left there." (CONTINUED BELOW)


"Gortaire has excellent potential because he would be a likely candidate for Minister of Defence if Ponce is re-elected in the next elections. Meanwhile he will also be reporting on any rumours and reports of discontent in the military commands..." - - - Pages 117-119: ..."Quito 15 December 1960: Aurelio Davila, one of the main political-action agents of the ECACTOR project, won an important and clever victory today. He was behind a mass demonstration of support to Velasco's policy on the Rio Protocol which backfired on Araujo. Students from all the Catholic schools and the Catholic university marched to Independence Plaza where they chanted slogans against communism. Velasco was on the platform and the Minister of Defense had begun to speak when a small group of counter-demonstrators began chanting 'Cuba, Russia, Ecuador', which prompted a flurry of down with communism' from the mass of students. Araujo, who was also on the speaker's platform, descended to join the counter-demonstrators. Almost immediately a riot began and Velasco had to grab the microphone and ask for calm. The speeches continued, including one by Velasco, but the President was clearly annoyed at Araujo's having disrupted this huge demonstration of support. At the instigation of Davila and other Conservative Party leaders the Cardinal issued a pastoral letter which was released today. The Cardinal, whose influence is at least equal to that of any politician including Velasco, warns that religion and the fatherland are in grave and imminent danger from communism, adding that Ecuador should not move towards Cuba and Russia in search of support on the boundary issue. Tonight another demonstration of support for Velasco's Peruvian policy was held — but it was by a leftist organization called the Popular Revolutionary Liberal Party (PLPR) which is an offshoot of the youth wing of the Liberal Party but with many Velasquista supporters." (CONTINUED BELOW)


"The speakers included Araujo and Gonzalo Villalba, a Vice-President of the CTE and one of the leaders of the Communist Party in Quito. They called for diplomatic and commercial relations with the Soviets while condemning the US and conservatives. Quito 16 December 1960: Araujo's out! Late this afternoon it was announced at the Presidential Palace that Araujo's resignation had been accepted, but we had been receiving reports all day that Velasco was getting rid of him. We have poured out a steady stream of propaganda against him for some weeks and his behaviour at yesterday's demonstration clinched matters. The Foreign Minister, who is a good friend of the US, has also been working to get Araujo fired, and of course Araujo's own identification with the extreme left gave him little room to manoeuvre. Since Araujo's resignation was announced, street clashes have been continuous between his supporters, mostly from the URJE, and anti-Araujo Velasquistas. Right now the downtown area is full of tear-gas but we learn from several agents that the rioters are finally dispersing. Quito 22 December 1960: Civic demonstrations on the Peruvian question have continued but they have lost their anti-US flavour. In fact they have almost been replaced by a campaign by Catholic groups to show support for the Cardinal in response to an attack against his pastoral letter on communism, made by the Revolutionary Socialist Labor Senator. Aurelio Davila is leading the campaign, funded from the ECACTOR project, which includes letters and signatures published in the newspapers by Catholic organizations like CEDOC, the labour confederation, and the National Catholic Action Board, of which Davila is a Vice-President. Today the campaign reached a peak with a demonstration by thousands who marched through the Quito streets in the rain chanting slogans against Cuba, communism and Russia..."


Inside the Company, CIA Diary (1975) by Philip Agee: Pages 129-131: ..."Quito 23 February 1961: Important efforts by the ECACTOR project agents, especially Aurelio Davila, to focus attention on communism and Cuba are getting results. Today the Cardinal issued another pastoral letter — this one signed by all the archbishops, bishops and vicars in the hierarchy. Davila had been rallying the leadership of the Conservative Party to call on the Cardinal for this new letter for some weeks. The letter calls on all Catholics to take serious and effective action against the communist menace in Ecuador, while accusing the communists of trying to take advantage of the border problem for their own subversive purposes. The letter also laments the weakening of the Ecuadorean case on the border issue because of these communist tactics...But because of Velasco's attacks against the political right, the animosity is so great that he may resist and lash out again at our ECACTOR crowd. In that case we will simply continue the campaign through all our propaganda machinery to deny the enemy the banner of patriotism on the Protocol issue. Through the same political-action agents we are promoting the formation of an anti-communist civic front that will concentrate on getting a break in relations with Cuba and on denouncing penetration of the Ecuadorean government by the extreme left. Right now the signature campaign is coming to a close and formation of the front will be announced in a few days...Quito 28 February 1961...Today things were back to normal. Our ECACTOR-financed anti-communist civic front was launched with a two-page newspaper notice containing about 3000 signatures and announcing the formation of the National Defense Front. In the statement at the beginning, the signatories, mostly Conservatives and Social Christians, denounce communist penetration of the government, the CTE and the FEUE..."


02/19/62: Cable from Quito to Director: ACTION: (KENNEDY, DUFFIN, WH NOTIFIED AND COPY SLOTTED 2200, 18 FEB): REF DIR 42255 (OUT 52143)* "1. ECSIGIL-1 reports intense revolutionary planning-organization by Rafael Echeverria Flores, QUIT Communist leader following latter's return from Cuba mid-February (see QUIT 4360) (IN 29758). Echeverria said Cubans ready help PCE prepare for insurrection Ecuador. Echeverria intimated arms available from Cuba. (Intel report follows). 2. Atahualpa Basante, commie military expert has just given 10 day sabotage-guerilla warfare training course Guayaquil using Cuban material. Similar courses scheduled other provincial capitals. (Intel report follows). 3. Ivan Alferyev, suspect his posing as Pravada correspondent, in close contact Cuban diplomats and local Communist leaders during recent visit QUIT (Handwritten note: Jeanette showed me). Activities included casing ODACID (U.S. State Department) building QUIT, in company Cuban diplomat. ECACTOR reported his residence cased by persons in Cuban Embassy vehicle during same period. 4. 5 Chinese Communists posing as journalists presently in Quito in close contact commie, labor and campesino leaders. GAYA press reported they received by minister education. Chinese refused give local press purpose visit. 5. All other evidence previously reported including clear cut mail intercept evidence Cuban training Ecuadoreans in sabotage, guerilla warfare etc. C/S Comment: *HQs reported current information available on Sino-Soviet Bloc subversive efforts and successes in Latin America."

104-10227-10071: WITHHELD

03/22/62: Cable from Quito to Director: REF DIR 48639* "Subject was working closely with (REDACTION)ACTOR and related groups while in Ecuador. Station unaware any unusual activity his part Ecuador: Suspects mere fact Ecuadorean background enough justify ouster Peru, as reverse situation would be Ecuador. C/S Comment: *Apparently wrong reference."

Philip Agee • Gavin McDonald

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