State of Emergency in Ecuador: “One enemy and that is drug trafficking”
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador announced a State of Emergency concerning drug trafficking and violent murders. The State of Emergency will be enforced for 60 days throughout the country. However, special attention will focus on the province of Guayas because a high percentage of criminal activity concerns the drug trade.
Guayaquil is the most populous city in Ecuador and is located in Guayas. Henceforth, problems persist because of the lucrative drug market in this city. Other parts of this nation – known to be blighted by drug trafficking – will also be targeted.
Lasso said, “Starting immediately, our Armed Forces and police will be felt with force in the streets because we are decreeing a state of emergency throughout the national territory.”
He continued, “All social and political sectors must work with absolute unity… in the streets, there is only one enemy: drug trafficking.”
The armed forces will support the local police and be sent to El Oro, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Santa Elena, Sucumbíos, and other parts of the country.
The BBC reports, “Ecuador is a transit country for cocaine smuggled from neighboring Peru and Colombia and much of the crime wave is thought to be drug-related.”
Murders have reportedly doubled this year. Also, Mexican drug cartels are increasingly dominating the drugs trade – while local gangs peddle on their behalf. Similarly, drugs are also in transit in Ecuador to other more lucrative markets.
Lee Jay Walker recently said – after 119 prison inmates were butchered by rival gangs – “The death toll this year inside the prison system in Ecuador is evidence that the situation is spiraling out of control. It also signifies the increasing threat emanating from cartels in Mexico and how local gangs in Ecuador are following similar methodologies. Of course, the role of drug cartels throughout the region is nothing new. However, the size of the latest bloodbath is evidence that all areas of the prison system have been compromised.”
Lasso said, “When drug trafficking grows, hitmen, murders, robberies of homes and vehicles also increase. More than 70% of violent deaths in Guayas are related to drug trafficking.”
It waits to be seen how internal gangs and Mexican drug cartels will respond to the declared State of Emergency. However, for many ordinary people in Ecuador – even if they support or oppose the policies of Lasso – they will welcome greater action against the growing menace of narcotics.
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