US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was criticized on Tuesday night after a video of him was released at a press conference in Ecuador, calling a record number of drug seizures in the country “good and bad news” .
Blinken was attending a joint press conference with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Mauricio Montalvo in Quito, the country’s capital. The two were asked about security and migration and Blinken said drug trafficking is a common concern for both nations.
America’s top diplomat said the two countries are working hard to equip police and law enforcement with the tools they need to tackle trafficking.
“We are working together and facilitating what had been – both good and bad news – record drug seizures,” he said. “The good news is that we are effective, the bad news is that this is a record drug seizure, which means the problem, in a sense, is even bigger.”
The Republican National Committee took up Blinken’s comment and released a short clip with the caption: “WATCH: Secretary of State Antony Blinken admits” record drug seizures “at the border, but insists that ‘this is’ good news, bad news’.
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Bliken seemed to be referring to the trafficking situation in Ecuador. Earlier in the conference, he spoke of the exceptional measures Quito has taken to combat drug trafficking.
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in parts of the country on Monday evening, Reuters reported.
“In the streets of Ecuador, there is only one enemy: drug trafficking,” Lasso said on a broadcast, according to the report. “When drug trafficking grows, assassinations and homicides, thefts of homes, vehicles, property and people also increase.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Supporters of the Biden administration would likely cite Ecuador’s cooperation as an example of the administration targeting the “root causes” of the border crisis and working in partnership with key countries.
Drug trafficking is also felt at the US border.
Fox News reported earlier this month at a border entry in Pharr, Texas, where customs and border protection seized $ 1.2 million worth of cocaine and fentanyl on October 1.
Mark Daniels, the Sheriff of Cochise, Arizona, told America’s Newsroom last week that the war on drugs in the United States would likely worsen until the border is secured.
“They have completely prepared us for failure here on the southwest border,” he said. “And let me give you some numbers that highlight what’s going on. This exercise we received 10,000 pounds of fentanyl, 180,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 86,000 pounds of cocaine, 5,000 pounds of heroin and 311,000 pounds of marijuana the southwest border this fiscal year.
Blinken said he hoped the United States and Ecuador would continue to develop their relationship and named the country as one of the first partners in the “Rebuild a Better World Program”. He said the program will invest in climate-resilient infrastructure projects, with high environmental and labor standards.
“It’s going to create jobs, it’s going to support local communities, it’s going to make progress against the climate crisis – all at the same time.
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