U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Todd Chapman says that the relationship between Ecuador and the United States has improved dramatically in the past two years. “Since the election of presidents Trump and Moreno in our two countries we have returned to the historically good relationship we have enjoyed over the years and we look forward to even better relations.”
He cited trade discussions that may open U.S. markets to more Ecuadorian products and student exchange programs between the two countries as evidence of the strong relationship.
In Cuenca to attend Tuesday night’s Governor’s Expat Humanitarian Awards ceremony at the Old Cathedral, Chapman also praised the positive impact of U.S. expats on Cuenca and Ecuador. “Ecuador may be the only country in the world, and Azuay the only province in Ecuador, that honors the expat community for their humanitarian contributions,” Chapman said. He echoed the sentiment of Azuay Governor Xavier Enderica that, through their involvement in the community, Cuenca expats have become “true Cuencanos.”
Chapman says that the 100,000 U.S. expats he estimates are living in Ecuador serve as “goodwill ambassadors” for the U.S. “Ecuadorians have the second highest positive opinion of the U.S. of all Latin Americans and I think this is due, in part, to the expats who live here.”
More evidence of the good feelings Ecuadorians hold toward the U.S. is the fact that more than 500,000 of them visit the U.S. each year.
Chapman praised Ecuador’s recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an $11 billion loan package. “From a macro-economic perspective, this strengthens the country’s financial status and assures the government of funding to build for the future,” he said. He said that Ecuador’s risk factor in international financial markets shows strong improvement as a result of the agreement.
“There was really no alternative to borrowing from IMF,” Chapman said. “The previous government left the country in terrible debt and President Moreno was forced to find solutions.”
He added that he saw no threat to national sovereignty in the IMF loan requirements. “No matter the loan source, whether it’s from the IMF, the financial markets or from other countries, like China, there are contractual stipulations that have to be followed.”
Appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, Chapman says he expects to be reassigned in June but does know his next posting. Before coming to Ecuador, he served in diplomatic positions in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Nigeria, Brazil and Afghanistan.