On Democracy Tour, Blinken Says Ecuador Offers Rights Assurances

On democracy tour, Blinken says Ecuador offers rights assurances

Quito, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 20th Oct, 2021 ) :US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday hailed Ecuador as a sign of democracy's success and said he secured promises to respect human rights as the country's new leader declared a state of emergency to combat violence.

President Guillermo Lasso ordered troops to the streets to combat drug trafficking hours before the arrival of Blinken, who is seeking to highlight good-news stories on democracy in Latin America.

After a welcome by the trumpets of guards in royal blue as well as strumming guitarists, Blinken pointed to Ecuador's success in vaccinating more than half the population under Lasso, a businessman who earlier this year unexpectedly was elected the country's first right-leaning leader in more than a decade.

"We appreciate very much that you are demonstrating convincingly that democracy can deliver real results for our people," Blinken said at Quito's colonial-era Carondelet Palace.

Lasso ordered police and troops to carry out a 60-day crackdown on drug crime, a surprise order announced just as Blinken was leaving Washington.

Lasso hailed ties with the United States, telling Blinken, "More than ever, Ecuador today shares the values that have guided the United States to prosperity since its founding.

" Blinken will deliver a speech Wednesday from Quito on democracy in which he is likely to take aim at leftist autocratic leaders such as Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, who has snapped off dialogue with the US-backed opposition.

Blinken voiced understanding over Ecuador's state of emergency, saying that "democracies at times need to take exceptional measures to ensure the safety and security of their citizens." But he said that operations "need to be very focused in what they are seeking to achieve and finite in duration and, of course, follow and proceed in a way that upholds democratic principles." Lasso "assured me that his government is committed to upholding all of those standards, which are so important to the Ecuadorian people," Blinken said.

Speaking next to Blinken, Foreign Minister Mauricio Montalvo said Ecuador wanted support from the United States "as we are battling a situation of transnational crime" including in drugs and human trafficking.

Jose Miguel Vivanco, the Americas chief at Human Rights Watch, criticized Lasso's move, saying, "The armed forces are trained for war, not keeping public order."Ecuador's move comes a day before Blinken heads to Colombia, also led by an assertive right-wing president, Ivan Duque, a close ally of former US president Donald Trump.