QUITO: Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso is demonstrating that democracy can deliver real results for people, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday (Oct 19), ahead of a meeting between the two men in Quito.
Ecuador is the first stop on a three-day tour by Blinken, which will also see him head to Colombia for meetings with Colombia's president and regional foreign ministers.
Lasso, a conservative ex-banker who took office in May, told Blinken that Ecuador "today more than ever shares the values of democracy and liberty" with the United States.
"We admire the strong voice for democracy that you have shared with the Ecuadorean people, but also for people throughout our hemisphere," Blinken said, crediting Lasso for quickly rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations in the Andean nation.
Blinken applauded Lasso's work combating corruption and said the two nations were working together on fighting drug trafficking and climate change.
On Monday, Lasso declared a state of emergency as part of a crackdown on the consumption and trafficking of narcotics, a move he said was in response to rising homicide figures.
Migration will be a focus of Blinken's trip, against a backdrop of rising numbers of migrants heading toward the southern US border, some from South America.
Blinken said he would work on regional challenges like migration with Lasso and Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Mauricio Montalvo during his visit.