City | 1:24 pm | March 18, 2012 | By Nick Defiesta

Ecuadorian ambassador visits New Haven, East Haven

Mayor Joseph Maturo of East Haven.
Mayor Joseph Maturo of East Haven. Photo by YDN.

Ecuadorian ambassador Nathalie Cely Suarez dropped by City Hall on Friday to meet with Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and New Haven’s Ecuadorian consul, Raul Erazo Velarde.

In the meeting, the trio discussed possible connections between New Haven and Ecuador, the New Haven Independent reported. Cely had just wrapped up a visit to the Yale School of Forestry and was excited about the idea of skill sharing between the city and Ecuador. She presented DeStefano with two gifts: a book about the natural beauty of Ecuador, and a planner so that he could plan a trip to visit.

Cely also said she has heard significant concern over Secure Communities, a federal immigration program that critics say will lead to racial profiling and a breakdown of trust between police and the city’s immigrant community. DeStefano called the program something “America has to set straight.”

After their stop at City Hall, Cely and Erazo were off to East Haven, to eat at an Ecuadorian-owned restaurant with the city’s embattled mayor, Joe Maturo. Maturo came under fire in late January when, in response to a reporter’s question about how he would support the city’s Latinos that night, he said he “might have tacos” for dinner.

Erazo said Maturo’s “taco” comment — made after evidence of systematic mistreatment of Latinos in the East Haven Police Department came to light — showed he was “ignorant” about Ecuadorian culture, so Erazo and Cely planned to show him Ecuadorian culture through its food.

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