Terms of Ecuador-U.S. agreement to combat drug trafficking explained; Court plans a review

Oct 6, 2023 | 0 comments

A new agreement between Ecuador and the U.S. to combat drug trafficking will grant permission for limited U.S. military operations in Ecuador, Foreign Minister Gustavo Manrique said Wednesday.

President Guillermo Lasso signed an agreement to combat drug trafficking on his recent trip to the U.S.

Aimed primarily at maritime activity, the agreement signed on President Guillermo Lasso’s recent trip to the U.S., also targets illegal fishing, fuel smuggling and human trafficking.

At a news conference, Manrique said that all U.S. operations under the agreement will be accompanied by Ecuadorian military and police personnel, who will grant permission to conduct searches and seizures on both sea and land. “Ecuadorian officials will make key decisions and direct all operations,” he said. “The scope of the operations are limited and are strictly for the purpose of combating crime.”

Although the agreement allows U.S. forces access to Ecuadorian land and sea “assets and resources”, no U.S. troops will be stationed on Ecuadorian soil, Manrique said. The constitution prohibits foreign military troops to be stationed in Ecuador. However, the agreement allows U.S. personnel access to the country’s airports and the freedom to travel in Ecuadorian territory, Manrique said.

The agreement has been submitted to the Constitutional Court for review and final approval under provisions of the cross death emergency imposed by Lasso.

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