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News > Ecuador

Gen. Richardson and High-Ranking US Officials Visit Ecuador

  • Gen. Laura Richardson (L).

    Gen. Laura Richardson (L). | Photo: X/ @AliciaCastroAR

Published 22 January 2024 (2 hours 25 minutes ago)
Opinion

They are expected to analyze approaches to confront transnational criminal organizations.

From Monday to Thursday, the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Gen. Laura Richardson, Presidential Special Advisor for the Americas Christopher Dodd, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Antinarcotics Affairs Christopher Landberg will hold meetings with Ecuadorian authorities.

RELATED:

Ecuador Has Not Lost the War Against Criminal Gangs: Noboa

The U.S. officials aim to accelerate bilateral cooperation in security and analyze collaborative approaches to confront transnational criminal organizations.

The agenda of the U.S. delegation includes meetings with President Daniel Noboa and ministers of defense, interior, foreign affairs, and economy. They will also meet with senior officials from security forces, the judiciary, and representatives of civil society.

Security cooperation between the U.S. and Ecuador focuses on objectives related to information exchange to combat transnational criminal organizations and the conduct of bilateral and multinational drills for capacity development and humanitarian assistance.

Other bilateral commitments include exchanges of experiences, conferences, and training events on disaster preparedness, cyber defense, space cooperation, maritime security, aviation, human rights, communications, and logistics.

The U.S. mission arrives at a time when Ecuador is under a state of exception, a nighttime curfew, and the declaration of an "Internal Armed Conflict" against criminal groups linked to international drug trafficking.

Since early January, Ecuador has experienced a wave of violent actions attributed to these groups, including the kidnapping of police officers, murders, explosive devices, burned vehicles, prison riots, and the takeover of a TV channel.

President Noboa has labeled organized crime gangs as "terrorist groups and non-state belligerent actors" to be neutralized by the Armed Forces, which are now in charge of the country's security. This crisis began with the escape from prison of Adolfo Macias (aka 'Fito'), leader of the "The Choneros" gang.

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