Quito (AFP) – US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Ecuador Wednesday on a visit that will include a meeting with President Lenin Moreno and talks on the Venezuelan crisis.
Pence, who arrived from Brazil, will meet with Moreno on Thursday at the Palacio de Carondelet to “talk about the bilateral agenda of the two countries,” Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.
Valencia said other issues that will be addressed by Pence and Moreno will revolve around security and defense, and that Ecuador was keen to boost exports to the United States.
On his Brazil visit, Pence and Brazilian President Michel Temer discussed the fate of Brazilian children stranded at America’s southern border and Venezuela’s deepening crisis.
About 50 Brazilian children are staying at shelters in the United States after being separated from their parents at the US-Mexican border.
More than 2,000 children — mostly Central Americans — were separated from their parents as a result of US President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.
On Venezuela, the US vice president urged Brazil to support “stronger action” to isolate the government of leftist President Nicolas Maduro.
More than 32,000 Venezuelans have sought asylum in Brazil and thousands of others temporary residency in the last three years. The trend is on the rise as the social, economic and political crisis in the neighboring country has grown increasingly dire.
Ecuador’s Moreno has distanced himself from the Maduro government, in contrast to his predecessor Rafael Correa (2007-2017), a close ally of Caracas.
Pence and Moreno are expected to make a joint declaration ahead of the vice president’s trip to Guatemala, where he will meet with officials from that country, Honduras and El Salvador.