U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged $35 million Saturday to support Ecuador’s aid programs for Venezuelan and Colombian refugees. Meeting in Guayaquil with President Lenin Moreno, Pompeo also said the U.S. would provide assistance to combat drug trafficking and for border security.
“We understand that Ecuador has received thousands of Venezuelans migrants and refugees and the United States is proud to support the country’s efforts in handling the continuing humanitarian crisis,” the U.S. Secretary of State said. He also praised the achievements of Moreno’s government in combating corruption and improving relations with the U.S.
In response, Moreno thanked Pompeo and said the refugee crisis has taxed Ecuador’s resources to the limit. “We are challenged to provide support on many fronts, including food, health care, education, housing,” he said. “We are attempting to help 500,000 Venezuelans and Colombians who are currently in Ecuador.”
According to a press release, Moreno and Pompeo also discussed the extradition of former Ecuadorian officials indicted for corruption and currently living in the U.S. Pompeo agreed to assist in locating the financial assets of those officials in the U.S. and return them to the Ecuadorian government. According to Moreno, much of the money transferred out of the country was the result of corruption.
The two men also discussed expanding trade between the U.S. and Ecuador.
Pompeo’s Ecuador visit is part of a four-nation Latin American tour which concluded Sunday in El Salvador.