Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Press Availability at the San Juan de Dios Food Shelter in Quito, Ecuador

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Quito, Ecuador
March 29, 2023


Let me start by commending Ecuador’s leadership and hospitality as host to hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees who had to flee the political and economic crisis in their home country, including more than a half a million Venezuelans.

Since the start of this crisis, the U.S. government has provided $356 million in humanitarian funding to support Venezuelan migrants and refugees, Colombian refugees, and the generous host communities in Ecuador.

Our support for migrants and refugees in Ecuador has included emergency food assistance, protection, shelter, and other needs. And we are really proud to be a partner with the United Nations in Ecuador – represented here today here by WFP and UNHCR – on addressing these needs.

The UN and its partners play a critical role in helping governments like Ecuador to welcome and help refugees. WFP reaches hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans and other vulnerable people with food and shelter, such as San Juan de Dios. And we support the UNHCR – a strong global partner of ours – here in Ecuador to provide temporary shelter and health services, promote social inclusion, access to education, cash assistance, livelihood support, and counseling services.

Of course, neither we nor the UN could do this work without the local partners on the ground, such as San Juan de Dios shelter, representing the generous spirit of the people of Ecuador. Thank you for letting us see your work today and for everything that you do for vulnerable refugees and migrants.

As demonstrated earlier this month at a Solidarity Conference in Brussels, we will continue to provide funding and resources to support Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The new funding will ensure continued food and meals are provided at shelters like this across Ecuador.

And let me just say, what I saw here today is so impressive and it should be an example to the rest of the world on how to treat people who are vulnerable, how to treat people who are in need, how to show compassion, and how to show kindness. So, it really was an extraordinary moment, and I particularly want to thank you.

And finally, I want to thank our colleagues from USAID, our colleagues from the World Food Program, from UNHCR, for partnering with the Government of Ecuador to make this program so successful.

And lest I forget, I have to thank our ambassador, extraordinary ambassador – (laughter) – who has led this process here and leads the relationship that we have with the government and the people of Ecuador.