Less than two months before the presidential elections in Ecuador, President Lasso met with political envoys from Washington to discuss security issues. Spanish sociologist Decio Machado told Sputnik that “Ecuador’s international policy and the fight against drugs” obey US geopolitical interests.
On June 21, Guillermo Lasso met at the Carondelet presidential palace in Quito with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Daniel Erikson to discuss security issues and organized crime associated with drug trafficking in Ecuador—at least, according to what their governments stated.
Following the meeting, which was attended by Ecuador’s Minister of Defense Luis Lara and US ambassador to the South American country Michael Fitzpatrick, Quito announced that a memorandum of understanding would be drawn up between the two nations to establish an integral security and peace strategy through an action plan establishing cooperation mechanisms, local media reported.
In a conversation with Sputnik, Machado explained that Lasso’s foreign policy “is subordinated to the geopolitical interests of the United States.”
The expert argued that through a new cycle of progressive governments in the region, there has been a shift in regional geopolitics not aligned with Washington that “seeks neutrality, independence and autonomy with respect to US international political interests.”
According to Machado, the White House seeks to position Ecuador as a center of operations in the American Pacific region, replacing Colombia–the country that held that position for many years—after the arrival of Gustavo Petro, who has criticized US influence in Colombia.
“Ecuador is a small country,” said Machado. “It does not have the same geostrategic and geopolitical importance as Colombia, which is a country with a much more important economy… The US has no other possibility but to transfer that capacity of influence and operational focuses in the region.”
This new regional geopolitical scenario is also framed within the existing instability in Peru, “where the change of government and the imprisonment of [Pedro] Castillo generate a logic in which it is not very clear how Peruvian politics will develop in the coming years,” Machado pointed out.
Machado maintains that Ecuadorian policy, at the international level, is subordinated to Washington’s geopolitical interests, a context in which the visit of Undersecretary Daniel Erikson to Quito took place, despite Lasso’s controversial decision of dissolving the Parliament. This decision allows Lasso to rule by decree until the upcoming presidential elections.
“Ecuador’s international policy and the Ecuadorian anti-narcotics fight are tremendously mortgaged to the US,” Machado added.
According to the analyst, Washington “extends its borders in the fight against drugs,” transferring them to Ecuador, “and a large part of the level of violence that is developing in the South American country, with more than 4,500 deaths per year, has to do with this dynamic.”
“The drug problem is not in the country [Ecuador], but where they receive the drugs, which in this case is in the US,” Machado said.
In this context, the bilateral cooperation agreements between Quito and Washington “are fundamentally focused on strengthening technical capacities in the fight against crime and the fight against drug gangs. The rest is secondary for the Americans,” Machado said.
Machado stated that the memorandum of understanding between the countries responds “to the interests of the United States and not of Ecuador.”
“At the same time, it demonstrates the internal incapacities of our Armed Forces, which have no capacity on their own or to generate regional agreements to combat drug trafficking or, as Brazil has done with Paraguay or Bolivia, intra-regional agreements to share intelligence,” Machado added.
The sociologist regretted that “this is happening two months before the new presidential elections in Ecuador and is evidently related to the fact that it is very possible and feasible that the political winds will change in the country; that is, that a progressive option will triumph.”
Therefore, “the US has an interest in signing long-term agreements before a new government arrives, in order to consolidate these agreements with the Armed Forces, regardless of who is sitting in the presidential palace in Carondelet,” Machado concluded.
(Sputnik) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/September 28, 2023