“Violence is the result of the destruction of public security and state institutions in Ecuador”

What is the root of this wave of violence?

These types of manifestations of violence are, first of all, the destruction of public security and state institutions, and this has been happening for about 15 years. In 2009, political actors and police intelligence experts had already announced that the Ecuadorian government had begun to dismantle public security institutions. This seems to be no coincidence, as the rates of conflict and violent killings have declined simultaneously, but the number of drug seizures has also declined. That is to say, it seemed that control was gone, institutions stopped working and people on the streets were satisfied because there was peace. But, underground, transnational organized crime organizations were growing stronger, as they freely traded drugs and controlled substances. They enriched themselves, increased the number of their troops, and supplied themselves with arms, but were underground, without knowledge of public opinion. Perhaps with the knowledge of state authorities, perhaps with the consent. We cannot explain it clearly. But there the intensive strengthening process begins. In 2012, a public, frontal relationship was promoted between the Ecuadorian government and criminal organizations. Gangs in Ecuador are currently affiliates of international drug trafficking mafias. It was not said at that time; Now I found out. Therefore, part of the peace agreements between the gangs and the government included the release of approximately 300 people affiliated with Rafael Correa’s political movement. A member of his gang also became an MLA. A Latin king became a legislator. It highlights the connections between gangs, drug trafficking and politics. There is a photo showing then President Correa, then Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, Leandro Noreiro, leaders and financiers of several narco-criminal organizations, among them the Latin Kings, Lobos or Chonakillers, organizations currently linked to drug trafficking.

What has President Daniel Ngoboa done wrong?

There are two important mistakes in these circumstances. First, Noboa has appointed makeshift people to key positions in the administration of state public policies. Let us think specifically about public policies related to security. There they have appointed a person who has no experience or track record of understanding or operating security administration. He is a private businessman with no military or police experience. A person is absolutely incapable of holding that position if he does not understand how to surround himself with people who have enough sensitivity, knowledge and experience to take decisions in such a critical situation. You won’t even know how to make decisions. Despite being supported by other state security organizations, that void will remain, lacking understanding of procedures, protocols and even language. In general terms, the President has appointed appointees to various Secretaries of State positions. And especially at this time you do not have any competent person to take decisions. Secondly, Noboa, in an order of emergency, attributes political status to the gangs. He describes them as belligerent non-state actors. That is, it is recognizing them as political rebel organizations, a status that they do not have or at least it has not been confirmed that they have. And this is a mistake, because it avoids the possibility of the Ecuadorian state declaring open war with the use of military logistics. If he had that status, there would be no need to classify him as a political opponent. If this had happened then they would not have become terrorists but political criminals. President Noboa appears to have no knowledge of the categories of international humanitarian law and the law of war.

Is it possible that Ecuador will remain in chaos for a long time?

Some of the circumstances have been repeated that make Ecuador in this decade similar to Colombia in the 1980s. There are similar situations, such as the death of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in Colombia and the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio in Ecuador. Before the assassination of Luis Carlos Galan, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who was a Colombian prosecutor, died. Both condemned the links between journalism, politics and drug trafficking in the country. And the same is happening here also. Ecuadorian prosecutor Diana Salazar is also receiving daily death threats. There are media outlets that are trying to attribute recent decisions to the consequences of the growth of transnational crime organizations, and this is a structural problem, it results from the weakening of their logistics, their supply, their training in state institutions. The problem exists. , its availability of military and police personnel. That is to say, there is a whole trajectory of events here that confirms that the weakening of state public security institutions leads to this point: that there are not sufficient state capacities to prevent transnational organized crime. But an analogy can be established between Ecuador and Colombia. Of course, along with their differences, we find similarities. This is not a situational crisis, but it is possible that it may persist for a long time as it happened in Colombia. There this process continued for 20 years.

How strong are the Los Choneros and Los Lobos criminal gangs? Can they defeat the state?

They are very big. They have many soldiers and they are increasing with time and supplying weapons. Los Choneros and Los Lobos are both the most violent gangs. There are other gangs that were involved in bribery or extortion cases. But Los Choneros and Los Lobos operate with directly inhumane measures. Murders, beheadings, dismemberments, hanging dead people in the public streets. The intention is to scare people. There are estimates about the capability of the soldiers they have. They may have about 45,000 soldiers, Ecuador has the same number of police officers. It is possible that they may also be armed, there is no information about this. First, we must measure the war-fighting, organizational, mobilization and coverage capabilities of each in the territory of the State of Ecuador. It is not only Los Choneros and Los Lobos, there are many other organizations that are armed arms of the Colombian, Mexican and Balkan cartels in the case of the Albanian Mafia. This means they have military training, supplies, procedures and tactics. There is a possibility that they are in the same position of power as the state. If he loses, Ecuador could be a failed state, which no one in the region expects.

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