Ecuador is experiencing one of the most violent periods of terrorism and criminal violence in its history, which has reached such an extent that the government decreed a state of emergency in three provinces, Guayas, Esmeraldas, and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, to control organized crime gangs that have taken over the prisons.
Violence spread to the streets after Ecuadorian prison authorities transferred 1,000 inmates from prisons in the coastal regions to facilities in the interior of the country. Car bombs at gas stations, attacks on police units and health centers, as well as a prison riot in which security forces were met with gunfire, all were recent events in Guayaquil. The curfew is still in place between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
— Henry Pillajo (@henrytelesur) November 2, 2022
However, this is not a recent development. The Ecuadorian State has been losing control of the situation and, since 2021, prison violence has resulted in more than 400 deaths. In general terms, crime throughout Ecuador has increased. “Hitmen and homicide rates have multiplied in recent years, from 5.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 to 14.4 in 2021, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC),” reports Newtral.
In this situation, President Guillermo Lasso attributed the increase in crime to foreign drug trafficking groups. Analysts warn that two infamous drug cartels from Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, are operating in Ecuador.
The fact that Ecuador has become a major drug market disputed by two foreign cartels is a sign of the State’s failure in security. The previous government of Lenín Moreno, and now Lasso’s government have both promoted a policy of neoliberal austerity that has reduced the budget and hence efficacy of the public sector. Investments in prisons and in national and citizen security have been reduced drastically, and there is a clear lack of a national strategy to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The governments of Moreno and Lasso have been dismantling the State, and the effect is being seen, above all, in the out-of-control violence engulfing the country.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution
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