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First lady Jill Biden to leave for 5-day, 3-nation trip to Latin America

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First lady Jill Biden to leave for 5-day, 3-nation trip to Latin America
President Joe Biden walks First Lady Jill Biden to board a plane to travel to Ecuador for the start of a six-day Latin America tour with scheduled stops in Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica at Joint Base Andrews in Prince Georges County, Maryland, on May 18, 2022. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- First lady Jill Biden was scheduled to travel to Latin America on Wednesday to open a tour that includes stops in Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica ahead of June's Summit of the Americas in California.

The first lady was scheduled to leave Washington, D.C., at 1:30 p.m. EDT and arrive in Ecuador about five hours later.

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During the trip, she will address the importance of relations between the United States and Latin America in promoting democracy, U.S. officials said. Her daughter Ashley will also make the trip.

Biden is expected to arrive in the capital Quito on Wednesday and meet with staff at the U.S. Embassy. On Thursday, she will meet with Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso at the Carondelet Palace after visiting a child development center and public school.

First lady Jill Biden embraces Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, on May 8 during a surprise visit to the country. Biden also visited Poland and Slovakia during the trip. Photo via Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/UPI

On Friday, she will travel to Panama City, meet with top officials and visit a school. Also on the agenda is a visit to an HIV/AIDS shelter that receives U.S. humanitarian aid.

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On Saturday, Biden travels to Costa Rica to meet women who have participated in U.S. programs focused on female entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. She is scheduled to have dinner with Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves in the evening.

On Sunday, the first lady will visit the National Children's Hospital of Costa Rica in San Juan and speak about U.S.-Costa Rican collaboration on cancer initiatives. She will return to the United States on Monday.

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The Summit of the Americas is scheduled to be held in Los Angeles from June 6-10.

The five-day swing through parts of Latin America is Biden's third official trip. The first was to Japan last summer to represent the United States at the Tokyo Summer Olympics and the second was to Eastern Europe earlier this month -- where she visited Poland and Slovakia and made a surprise visit to Ukraine amid the Russian war.

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about reproductive rights as she virtually meets with abortion providers in the South Auditorium on Thursday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

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