United States Agency for International Development
Office of Press Relations
For Immediate Release
May 15, 2019
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
FOREIGN MINISTER VALENCIA: (In Spanish)
MODERATOR: (In Spanish)
ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you, thank you, Foreign Minister, for those kind words. Ladies and gentlemen, civil society leaders, officials from Ecuador, officials from the U.S. Embassy, more importantly, friends. It’s good to see you all in this spectacular building. I would like an office like this, but I don’t think that the White House would permit me. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place. It is an honor to join Foreign Minister Valencia here today in signing this Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Government of Ecuador. This MOU, I think, reflects the new era of partnership between the U.S. and Ecuador as we work together to amend security and prosperity not just in our two countries, but throughout the hemisphere. This partnership would not be possible without Ecuador’s sincere commitment to democratic reforms, re-engagement with the international community, and the strengthening of bilateral cooperation with the United States.
Foreign Minister Valencia, the U.S. welcomes your continued leadership on these issues, because like you, we believe that human liberty and democracy remain the highest and best hope for people everywhere. You and your government have embraced that fundamental truth, and you have embarked on a difficult reform process, all in an effort to make this great country even more democratic, equitable, and prosperous, which is why I am proud to join you in signing this historic MOU.
At USAID, we believe that every person, every family, and every community wants to lead their own bright future. They want to be self-reliant. And, we believe that when our friends dedicate themselves to the reforms, the choices, and actions that are necessary to pursue their journey to first self-reliance, and then, prosperity — well, then we should walk with them along the way. We should accompany them on their journey. Through this MOU, USAID commits to working with, and collaborating with, Ecuador to achieve our shared development objectives.
We look forward to working together year to year, friend to friend, to advance key priorities, like reducing the risk of natural disasters, fostering inclusive economic growth to make sure that no one is left behind, and promoting quality education for all Ecuadorians. We do so because we value the renewed partnership between our two countries, and we know that by helping to build your capacity in these and other areas, we can help foster self-reliance and prosperity for all Ecuadorians.
We are deeply appreciative of the compassion shown by your government and the people of Ecuador towards those who have fled the brutal dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. We know this has not been easy, and that the influx of migrants has caused some hardships in some communities. Despite these challenges, Ecuadorians continue to generously welcome these migrants, who only seek to meet their basic needs and to seek relief from tyranny. And, by recognizing Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela, the Government of Ecuador has demonstrated a commitment to upholding the universal principles of human dignity, freedom, and democracy. The U.S. stands in solidarity with Ecuador and all of the countries in this region hosting Venezuelans who have been forced to flee. Together, we join the many voices around the world in calling for Venezuela’s return to democracy, rule of law, and citizen response of governance, so these poor migrants, themselves, can return to their homes and a brighter future for their country.
So, again, Foreign Minister Valencia, thank you for your government’s commitment to reform and the leadership you and your government have shown throughout the crisis in Venezuela. USAID looks forward to working with you in the days and months and years ahead. This is only a first step in a journey we will take together, again, walking side by side, sharing ideas — ideas that will be of benefit to both countries, and we believe, to the region. I am honored to be here. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: (In Spanish)
QUESTION: (In Spanish)
ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: First timer. I’m not sure that I would think of it like that. So, we were disappointed to leave in 2014. We continued to provide some support, for example, to civil society, even though we did not have a physical presence here. Today, is looking forward, not looking backwards. Today, we are beginning a new chapter in a renewed partnership. Again, there is still much to do. Already, in the brief time that I have been here, we have had very fruitful discussions about areas of cooperation. It is not for us in the U.S. to say we will do these things. It is, instead, for Ecuador and the U.S. Government to sit down together and to look for areas of collaboration, look for areas where we can help each other. And so, that’s how I would look at this.
When I first arrived yesterday, I had the great honor of meeting your First Lady. And, she shared with me some of her visions and the President’s vision for opportunity, inclusive economic growth, in particular, reaching out to those with disabilities. And, I can say, on behalf of USAID, we were deeply moved. That immediately suggests to me some areas, in which we can together. What that looks like in terms of details, that’s what we will have discussions about. Again, I look at this as a collaboration, cooperation, a partnership, and an opportunity for us to walk side by side as friends.
And we’ll only make you say the question once. (Laughter)
MODERATOR: (In Spanish)
QUESTION: (In Spanish)
ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: In our renewed partnership, it is not about dollar figures, it is about looking for ways in which we can collaborate. So, it is premature to talk about dollar amounts and size of programs. Instead we hope to work with the Government of Ecuador on this national (inaudible) and see if there are areas where we might be able to bring value.
Ecuador is unlike many places in which USAID works. This is a country that is well along in its journey to self-reliance and prosperity, and so old style, traditional programs that we might look to do in other places, are not the types of collaboration that I believe the Ecuadorian Government will be looking for. Instead, we’ll look for ways to provide technical assistance, to look for ways to share the experiences. Yes, share resources as well.
Even though from 2014 to the present we have not had the presence physically here that we will have, we have continued to try to be supportive. For example, we have provided more than $30 million in humanitarian assistance for Venezuelan migrants who have come here, to help ease some of the burden.
So, now what we will do is look for ways in which we can plan together where we can provide value, where we can provide some modest resources, but the priority and programs must be driven by the Government of Ecuador. And, again, that’s what I think a renewed partnership looks like.