QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador expects to seal a deal for the United States to provide $200 million worth of security equipment and support as it tackles rising violence on the streets and in prisons blamed on drug trafficking gangs, the government said on Wednesday.
President Daniel Noboa took office last month on promises to reduce violence and create jobs, especially for young people, through urgent legislative reforms.
“Today we expect to close an agreement with the government of the United States for $200 million in a series of components,” Government and Interior Minister Monica Palencia said in a statement.
Palencia did not provide further details but said the deal would support projects by the police and other security programs which Noboa campaigned on. The U.S. Embassy in Quito did not respond to a request for comment.
Ecuador was also seeking cooperation with Britain and the European Union for training and intelligence, she said.
The government was pursuing a donation of $120 million from a Canadian foundation, she said, without naming it.
Noboa has pledged to create a new intelligence unit, supply tactical weapons to security forces, and reinforce security at ports and airports – key points for drug shipments.
The government will design four high-security prisons with Israeli technology, similar to a project in El Salvador, the statement added.
Violent deaths nearly doubled in Ecuador in the year through Nov. 22, according to police figures, rising to 6,940 from 3,983.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb, Editing by Angus MacSwan)