Ecuador: President declares state of emergency over drug violence in the country

The President of Ecuador in a broadcast speech 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.”

Ecuador declares emergency
Ecuador declares emergency

The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso on October 18, 2021, declared a state of emergency in the country which is struggling with the rising numbers of drug-related violence. The President has ordered the mobilization of military and police on the streets to curb the problem.

The President of Ecuador in a broadcast speech 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.”

The right-wing leader of Ecuador further added that in the streets of the country there is only one enemy: drug trafficking. In recent years, Ecuador has gone from being a drug trafficking nation to one that also consumes drugs.

What is happening in Ecuador?

Ecuador has been seen a dramatic increase in violence in recent months. Between January and October 2021, the country has registered almost 1,900 homicides, compared to 1,400 in all of 2020.

According to the President, the South American nation has been experiencing a period of insecurity that has its origin in several factors and one of them is the problem of drug trafficking. He added that the nation needs stronger armed forces.

With the increase in drug trafficking, the problem of hitmen and homicides also increases which further adds to other crimes such as robbery.

Emergency declared in Ecuador

The imposed State of Emergency in Ecuador announced by President Lasso for 60 days will allow the government to mobilize 3,600 soldiers as well as police to patrol 65 prisons all over the country. As per the President, the police will also be patrolling the streets.

Ecuador prisons face bloody riots

The President of Ecuador has named a new defence minister as the country faces a massive prison crisis. A retired general Luis Hernandez has been appointed to the post by the President citing inadequate public safety in the country.

Ecuador’s prison system has been grappling with a spate of bloody riots. So far in 2021, 238 prisoners in the country have died in the prison riots.

Reportedly, around two weeks ago, jailed members of the crime groups linked to the cartels in Colombia and Mexico battled with the firearms for control of a penitentiary in the Southwestern city of Guayaquil.

The fighting in the country’s prison left 119 inmates dead in one of the worst prison massacres in the history of South America.

As per President Lasso, more than 70 percent of the violent deaths in the country that occur in the coastal province of Guayas, are in some way related to drug trafficking.

US Secretary of State visits Ecuador

The announcement made by the President regarding the State of Emergency in Ecuador came on an eve of an official visit by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Ecuador and Colombia.

The visit by the US official aims to support and broaden ties with the Latin American democracies. US Secretary of State was scheduled to speak with Lasso about the cooperation in the matters of defense, security, and trade.

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