Ecuador and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding to deal with drug trafficking. The US Congress must decide on the funds every year, until 2030.
In July 2023, after almost a year of negotiations, Ecuador and the United States signed a cooperation agreement on FACE al drug smuggling.
The official document is still reserved, however, Luis Lara Minister of Defense, reveals some details of how this cooperation works. Ecuador is asking for help from the United States because most of the drugs that pass through the country go to the United States.
The previous steps
According to Lara, this process started on May 25, 2022. On that day, the State and Public Security Council (Cosepe) recognized drug trafficking as a threat to the State.
After this declaration, Ecuador began to develop the Strategy for Security and Peace, which brought a diagnosis of military capabilities that the country had at that time to face this threat and the goal of Strengthening those capabilities.
Finally, in September 2022, the Strategy was approved and presented to the United States by several authorities who visited Ecuador.
This Strategy is the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding on Security Matters between Ecuador and the United States They were signed in July 2023. The document consists of 169 goals that must be fulfilled by 2030 for the country to deal with drug trafficking.
Not money, but resources
Minister Lara clarified that the signing of this Memorandum does not mean that the United States will give money to Ecuador for the fight against drug trafficking, but that cooperation takes place in four lines:
- Exchange information
- Capacity building
- Training and qualification
- Delivery of equipment and materials
That is, the United States does not spend money, but it delivers military equipment, and information and trains uniformed personnel Ecuadorians. For this, resources will be channeled through bilateral projects that are being implemented.
the investments estimated for both countries at USD 3.5 billion to 20230. In this amount, Ecuador will put in USD 1,200 and others (USD 2,300) which is equal to deer as long as the Congress makes living resources for bilateral projects.
Each year, the United States Congress must approve these resources. Lara clarified that this process, which started after the signing of the agreement, will take about two years. So the first samples from cooperation will come at a end of 2024 and starting in 2025.
Lara added that the Memorandum does not create legal rights or obligations. It can be used by countries by their national laws and actions are subject to the availability of funds in each country.
In the case of EcuadorFor example, the FF. AA. They receive between USD 90 and 150 million annually for military investment. So, by 2030, there will be USD 1.2 billion which is the investment expected to be made in the fight against drug trafficking.