Ecuadorian gangs linked to drug trafficking have been likened to terrorists by the administration of President Guillermo Lasso in a move to curb the escalating violence, it was reported. The decision was taken after a State and Public Security Council (Cosepe) meeting.
With the new measure, the military will be allowed to be mobilized to the streets to confront Organized Crime Groups (Grupos de Delincuencia Organizada, GDO) without a state of exception needing to be decreed. These gangs are believed to be linked to Mexico's Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels, among others.
Terrorism is declared as a threat that attempts against the structural elements of the State and therefore to its integral security, as it is conceived in international regulations and Ecuadorian legislation, Cosepe Secretary Wagner Bravo said.
After the meeting between Cosepe and Lasso, Bravo pointed out that there was a common point to declare that the terrorist threat is going to be firmly confronted. He also explained he recommended the President put into effect coercive, urgent and effective measures that include the use of lethal weapons to combat this serious threat that affects the people.
The escalation of violence has already spread to the streets and prisons, where the different drug gangs are fighting over territories in bloodshed. Clashes between inmates have left more than 420 dead since 2021.