The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, decreed this Friday a state of emergency in three provinces on the coast of the country to combat organized crime, which includes a night curfew in three towns and the deployment of 9,000 uniformed police and military .
The state of exception will take effect from midnight this Saturday in the coastal provinces of Guayas, Manabí and Esmeraldas, bordering Colombia, while in the parishes of Esmeraldas, Eloy Alfaro (Guayas) and Jiménez Pascuales (Guayas) there will be a touch curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time for 60 days.
In a televised message, Lasso announced that his government will take “the fight against criminals to the very territory where they and their dirty merchandise are trying to hide” and affirmed that “the streets will feel the weight” of the public force.”RELATED
This decision by Lasso is part of the growing violence that exists on the coast of Ecuador by organized criminal gangs focused mainly on drug trafficking and some with links to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia, according to the Ecuadorian authorities.
Violent scenes such as the appearance of decapitated people or the assassinations of hired assassins have become increasingly frequent in these areas, mainly around Guayaquil, the capital of Guayas, whose port is used as a springboard for cocaine produced in Colombia, Peru and, in to a lesser extent, also in Ecuador.
This phenomenon also has a bloodthirsty chapter in the prison crisis in Ecuador, where almost 400 prisoners have died in the last two years in different confrontations between this type of rival gangs that dispute the internal control of the prisons.
This statement by Lasso against organized crime comes after he recently created the Ministry of the Interior, which was previously immersed in the Ministry of Government, and after changing the Minister of Defense to put General Luis Lara, former head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.
The announcement was made on the same day that the elimination by the Ecuadorian authorities of wearing a mask in both open and closed spaces came into effect, after a successful vaccination plan that has COVID-19 at a minimum in the country.
“We have fulfilled our sacred mandate to save lives in Ecuador. Now, we must protect life against a ruthless enemy who wants to test our determination and will, but will only find the most absolute and forceful defeat,” Lasso said in his message, from conservative trend.
“Those of us who love the law will always be stronger. Those of us who defend life and the rule of law will never ever falter. We will always prevail. We will protect life in every decision we make, in every corner of our country, until we subdue each one of the violent”; he concluded she.
Lasso is about to complete a year in office as president of Ecuador, a period in which the COVID-19 pandemic and violence at the hands of these criminal gangs have been the main threats.
He is the second president of Latin America to decree a state of emergency to combat crime in 2022. Before that, the president of El Salvador Nayib Bukele did so to counteract the gangs of the maras salvatruchas.
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