Monday, November 29

Ecuador decrees a state of exception in the prison system after the death of 116 prisoners in two riots




A violent confrontation between gangs turned the former Penitentiary of the Litoral, from Guayaquil, in a grim scene, in which 116 inmates died, and at least 80 were injured.

It was an atrocious massacre, which could be evaluated the day after the event, when different police units were able to enter the pavilions, because on Tuesday, the day the events occurred, there were 24 deaths, and the authorities announced that they had control from jail. It was not so.

Around noon on Wednesday, the director of the Comprehensive Attention Service for Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI), Bolivar Garzón, reported the death toll, which produced a general shock in a country that does not leave its astonishment when it learns of the horror stories that even include decapitated and mutilated bodies.

The president, Guillermo Lasso, decreed the Exception status the country’s prison system, for 60 days; and he moved from Quito to Guayaquil, to head a Crisis Committee.

Throughout the day, despair gripped the families of the inmates who went to the entrances to the prison complex, in search of information about their loved ones; there were heartbreaking screams when the names were on the list of the deceased, or were identified in videos of great crudeness, sent from within the jail, and they could recognize their relatives.

The ambulance parade took place throughout the day, during which dozens of policemen on motorcycles, as well as soldiers in armored cars, remained stationed outside the prison, giving a feeling of a kind of war of the State against posters. The scene also confirmed, in turn, that the jail control it was not in the hands of the authorities.

Overcrowded jails with drug control

This episode of confrontations and deaths in prisons is the second in which he has been in government Guillermo Lasso, who assumed power on May 24. In July, 22 inmates died in two clashes in the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil and in the Latacunga prison in the center of the country. And, days ago, another Guayaquil prison was attacked by drones from abroad. The previous massacre occurred on February 23, with the balance of 79 dead. Ruled the country Lenin Moreno.

One of the biggest problems of the Ecuadorian prison system is the overpopulation, reported for a long time, and estimated at around 33%. Overcrowding in Ecuador’s prisons is inhumane; Without sanitary conditions, physical and even mental illnesses are also recurrent. It is a structural problem, the product of a failed prison model, in which 40% of prisoners do not have a sentence, to which must be added the enormous deficit of prison officers, because there would only be one officer for every 240 inmates.

The other serious reality is the presence of gangs linked to the Mexican cartels, already admitted by the authorities. Of the 40,000 prisoners in the country, more than 25,000 belong to 10 criminal groups. The main ones are ‘Los Choneros’, the armed wing of the Sinaloa cartel, and the ‘Lobos’, who give security to Jalisco New Generation, according to what Arturo Torres, co-founder of the Glass Code portal and author of ‘The Chameleon Game’, tells ABC, who believes that in the country’s prisons “there is no Intelligence; nothing is anticipated; only corpses are collected.

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