By Ivan Maltsev
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Latin America, where he will discuss possible solutions to the problems of illegal migration and the preservation of democracy.
In a statement, Department of State spokesman Ned Price said that Blinken had a conversation with Chile’s foreign minister and expressed gratitude for Chile’s “continued support for refugees and migrants from the region, especially from Venezuela and Haiti.”
“They touched upon common goals in bilateral relations, including immediate actions to jointly support orderly, safe and humane migration in the region and stop the uncontrolled flow of illegal migrants in this hemisphere,” Price said.
Venezuela is expected to take an important place on the agenda of Blinken’s first visit to South America as the head of American diplomacy.
Blinken met with Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso and Foreign Minister Mauricio Montalvo in Quito on Tuesday to discuss democratic governance and issues such as drug control and migration.
“We appreciate that you convincingly demonstrate that democracy can bring real fruits for the people,” Blinken said at a meeting with Lasso at the Carondelet Palace in Quito, where the head of American diplomacy was greeted by guards trumpeters in blue uniforms.
The United States has called for the resumption of political talks between the government and the opposition of Venezuela, saying that the extradition of a close ally of President Nicolas Maduro to the United States cannot be linked to negotiations.
Last weekend, the Maduro government announced the termination of negotiations after Colombian businessman Alex Saab, accused of money laundering in the interests of the Venezuelan government, was extradited to the United States from Cape Verde to stand trial.
“If the Maduro regime had been serious when it spoke about its concern for the Venezuelan people, they would have sat down at the negotiating table with their compatriots and worked out a solution. And if they make progress in this regard, the United States will welcome it,” Brian Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said at a briefing.
Blinken will give a speech in Quito on Wednesday about the importance of democracy.
The Department of State said it would demonstrate “how inclusive and responsive democratic institutions” can pursue economic policies with an emphasis on “inclusive growth and environmental protection.”
After that, Blinken will go to Colombia.
“The Secretary of State’s visit to Colombia and Ecuador sends a clear message that we support a dynamic and inclusive democracy that respects the rights of its citizens,” Nichols told reporters.