Over the past few weeks, the NSC has been coordinating U.S. Government support for the people of Ecuador in the wake of increased violence. This week, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Todd D. Robinson led a joint Department of State and Department of Justice delegation to Ecuador to highlight the United States’ continued commitment to supporting Ecuador in its fight against transnational criminal organizations. Assistant Secretary Robinson announced INL funding for the construction of the Ecuadorian Coast Guard Academy, a renovated canine veterinary clinic, a renovated office for the corruption prosecution unit, and eight mobile border units to support an elite border task force. He also helped launch a joint National Police-Coast Guard operational unit in Guayaquil, which will increase information sharing and operational coordination on Ecuador’s waterways. Assistant Secretary Robinson’s visit to Ecuador reflects the United States’ enduring continued commitment to support Ecuador’s security and prosperity.
In addition, we have surged our law enforcement and defense support for Ecuadorian Forces. The Department of Homeland Security is actively providing digital forensics support to identify, map, and target criminal networks; has sent a team to train 175 Ecuador migration officers on the use of biometrics collection; and trained 35 members from the Ecuadorian Presidential and Vice-Presidential protective details. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) increased its personnel in-country following the recent rise in violence. Meanwhile, Department of Justice attorneys, as well as agents from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency, continue to support Ecuador’s investigations into recent political and gang violence. The Department of Defense has also committed to delivering a C-130H military plane to the Ecuadorians by the end of March 2024. This support builds on the facilitated delivery of more than 20,000 bullet proof vests and more than $1 million worth of critical security and emergency response equipment, announced in January.
Earlier this week, Treasury also designated one of Ecuador’s most violent gangs, Los Choneros, and its leader, José Adolfo Macías Villamar, pursuant to its counter narcotic authorities – a response to the steep rise in violence in Ecuador attributed to the actions of Los Choneros and other drug trafficking gangs in the country.
Looking forward, the United States is investing in a $45 million program to reduce childhood malnutrition, increase access to clean drinking water, and improve sanitation; providing $13 million in equipment to protect the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense computer networks; and $2.4 million in additional vehicles and security equipment to support the work of police in Ecuador.