According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in recent years 3.2 million Venezuelans have left their country and of these some 2.6 million remain in Latin America.It is estimated that around one million Venezuelans have passed through Ecuador, of those who have remained to reside in Ecuadorian territory between 230,000 and 250,000.

On April 30, 2019, I had the privilege of meeting with the President of Ecuador in the Presidential Palace of Carondelet, together with the ministers of Finance and Social Inclusion and was accompanied by Cristina Valencia who is an expert in the area of humanitarian crisis and has worked for the CDC and Doctors Without Borders. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss a plan we have developed to address some of the key areas in the ongoing Venezuelan refugee crisis as well as to emphasize the existence of international funding to support these initiatives.

 The Ecuadorean president and his cabinet welcomed the initiatives we proposed and urged us to continue collaborating with them as well as all international entities involved in helping Venezuela’s neighboring countries. He also welcomed the idea of requesting financing from the different international financial institutions that have established funds to support and assist these countries with the influx of refugees.

I also had the opportunity to discuss with the president his administration’s implementation of a series of needed economic reforms and the resulting positive image this has created in the international markets with respect to Ecuador.

We were surprised by the amount of media attention and coverage our meeting with the president had, and we used these platforms to voice the international support that the Ecuadorean community has as well as to raise awareness of the subject matter. 

We remain hopeful that this is the first of many more meetings to come and we look forward to working together with the government to implement some of the projects we proposed.