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White House anti-narcotics chief will visit Noboa

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White House anti-narcotics chief will visit Noboa

The head of United States anti-narcotics, Rahul Gupta, in an interview before his trip to Ecuador, on February 14, 2024. – Photo: EFE

The head of the White House anti-narcotics office, Rahul Gupta, begins this Wednesday a three-day visit to Ecuador in which he will meet with the country’s president, Daniel Noboa, with the purpose of strengthening cooperation in the so-called war against drug trafficking.

In an interview with EFE at the White House, hours before his trip, Gupta explained that his objective is to better understand the work of the Ecuadorian Government and determine in which areas the United States can provide additional help. “We want to demonstrate the support of the United States Government to the Ecuadorian people and the president of Ecuador, said Gupta.

Gupta’s first stop will be Quito, where in addition to talking with Noboa, he will meet on February 14 with senior officials from the Ministries of the Interior and Health, as well as with authorities in charge of drug control.

In Quito, Gupta plans to learn more about an innovative process called ‘encapsulation’ that the Ecuadorian government is using to permanently destroy cocaine and other seized drugs.

Through ‘encapsulation’, authorities mix drugs with cement, salt and chemical accelerants to form a liquid mixture that then solidifies into blocks.

Visit to Guayaquil

After his visit to Quito, Gupta will go to Guayaquil on Thursday to inspect the city’s port, the most important in Ecuador and which criminal gangs are using as an exit point for the drugs they export to the United States and Europe.

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Subsequently, he will meet with Noboa, who took office in November 2023 and, less than two months later, declared a state of emergency and decreed the existence of an “internal armed conflict” in the country, which led to the deployment of the Armed Forces in the streets. «We anticipate a fruitful conversation with President Noboa.

The work he is doing under very difficult circumstances is commendable,” said Gupta. One of the issues she hopes to address with Noboa is the 60-day state of emergency, which began on January 8 and will end in early March. “We will also talk about what his approach is and what plans he has for after the 60 days,” Gupta added.

What can the US do?

Regarding US cooperation, Gupta did not say whether significant announcements will be made during his visit. He recalled that the United States has committed to sending Ecuador USD 100 million in aid. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of addressing the drug trafficking problem from a regional perspective, with all countries, including the United States, assuming their responsibility. «We share that joint responsibility. We know that cocaine production and trafficking are issues of great importance not only for Ecuador, but for the entire region,” he stated. EFE

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