LatinNews Daily - 29 January 2024

US boosts security cooperation with Ecuador

Ecuador: From 22-25 January the US Special Adviser for the Americas Chris Dodd and Commander of the US Southern Command, General Laura Richardson led a US delegation to Ecuador. In a statement, the US embassy in Ecuador said the visit aimed to boost bilateral cooperation on security and analyse collaborative approaches to confronting threats posed by transnational criminal organisations. While in Ecuador, Dodd and Richardson met with President Daniel Noboa, Attorney General (AG) Diana Salazar, Defence Minister Giancarlo Loffredo, and other senior justice and military officials. The visit signals US support for Ecuador which is facing a wave of criminal violence.  According to a White House statement, discussions focused on deepening cooperation on security, drug trafficking, migration, and economic development. The White House adds that the US is facilitating the delivery of over 20,000 bulletproof vests and over US$1m worth of security and emergency response equipment, including ambulances and defence logistic support vehicles. Additionally, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will increase its personnel in Ecuador to assist the national police and AG’s office. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also deploying personnel to support the training of police and prosecutors; offering additional support in digital forensics and other analysis for targeting gang members, drug trafficking networks, and corrupt officials; and providing training and technical assistance with respect to protection of executive officials. Furthermore, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is increasing support for its municipal security programmes, including support for crisis communications. The White House also noted that the US, Ecuador, and other regional partners continued to advance goals under the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (Apep) initiative launched by US President Joe Biden in June 2022 “to help provide greater economic opportunity to Ecuadoreans, which is crucial to addressing the underlying drivers of insecurity, criminality, and migration”.

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