Tuesday, October 4

The unstoppable advance of drug traffickers in Ecuador

Talking about the Choneros, the Wolves and the Tiguerones, the Lizards or the Latin Kings has become a custom in Ecuador. It is not about musical ensembles or football teams but about the major drug gangs that are disputed to bullets the territories and markets of a country where the violence scales ominously in step with the increase in Social inequality.

The port city of guayaquil, With some three million inhabitants, this weekend has been once again the scene of the activity of these groups. A bomb spread its wake of death in the neighborhood of Cristo del Consuelo. The attack caused five dead and at least 20 woundedsome of them seriously, in addition to damage to homes that previously bore signs of precariousness on their walls. William Lasso declared the Exception statusthe third time that he has resorted to this mechanism since he took office in May 2021. The Government has offered a reward up to $10,000 who provides information about what happened last Sunday.

“The gangs have become a government within government“, warned the mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri. Lasso felt alluded to and said that Viteri “does not seem to understand that the enemy of the country is the narcoterrorism who wants to install himself in society; and not the Government”. Strictly speaking, the unsafety it is a national problem. Between January and June they have been reported throughout the country 613 homicides, against 865 in all of 2021. The National Police maintains that 86% of these mournful episodes are related to clashes between groups of drug traffickers, and only 8% due to interpersonal incidents. The other 6% corresponds to theft followed by death. The amount of robberies reported last year was, meanwhile, 25,389. In the first five months of 2022, 12,548 had been registered.

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New modalities

The bombs crash like operational novelty of criminals. Last April, a vehicle with explosives exploded in front of the Guayas regional prison. A month later the same situation was repeated outside a Community Police Unit. Security forces discovered homemade bombs near the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the Judicial Council. When the country was still astonished this Monday by what happened in Cristo del Consuelo, and the police continued with their raids and arrests of alleged members of the Tiguerones in that neighborhood, the police found in the north of Quito a box with an artifact ready to be detonated.

“Again, like almost every day, the country feels pain,” said the capital’s newspaper Trade in his latest editorial. “We urge all the authorities, all the functions of the State to join in actions so that Guayaquil and the country do not continue to bleed to death,” he claimed. The universe.

The advance of drug trafficking is a consequence, on the one hand, of the alliance that some of these groups have forged with the Mexican Cartel Jalisco New Generationto which they supply colombian cocaine transporting from ports and airfields. In accordance with The universeauthorities have seized so far this year 90 tons of drugsmore than double that in 2021.

Slums and jails

At the same time, the gangs seek to settle in the cities to control the business of the so-called drug dealing. The fight for territorial control has another chapter prisons. On July 18, 13 inmates lost their lives in a prison in the city of Santo Domingo de los Colorados, during a confrontation between rival gangs. Last May, 44 inmates had died in the same center and for the same reasons. In the last two years, more than 400 deaths in prisons. Lasso has shown himself to be as powerless as his predecessor, Lenin Moreno, to resolve the scourge.

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As has happened in Brazil either Mexicothe Ecuadorian factions they have started recruiting children. “It’s devastating to know that they even have clothing with logos that identify them,” he said. Trade. For the publication, “it is not complex to know why it is easy for gangs to summon minors and young people for their toughest tasks. They are people who already come from a structural environment of violence, from families that for generations did not have a work that gives them dignity”. Those children and youth”they know they have no future“.

The background of poverty

25% of Ecuadorians are poor, and receives 87 dollars a month in a country without its own currency. Another 10.7% of the population lives in extreme poverty, with 49.35 dollars per month per capita. The Social inequality It is another source of conflict. On June 13, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) began a nationwide protest that lasted 18 days. Moreno’s government was also shaken by a social explosion in 2019 that buried his desire to be re-elected.


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