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Montevideo, June 24th 2024 - 20:08 UTC



State of emergency and curfew decreed in Ecuador

Tuesday, July 25th 2023 - 11:19 UTC
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President Lasso made the announcement President Lasso made the announcement

Ecuadorian authorities Monday declared a new state of emergency and curfew in two provinces and one city following an escalation in acts of violence, including the murder of the mayor of Manta, the country's third-largest city.

President Guillermo Lasso announced the Security Committee's decision from Durán, a municipality within Guayaquil's metropolitan area, which registers one of the highest rates of violence and insecurity in the country. The 60-day state of emergency and a nighttime curfew were also imposed in the provinces of Manabí (where Manta is located) and Los Ríos.

Read also: Mayor of Ecuador's third-largest city shot dead

In all three jurisdictions, the curfew will be in force from 10 pm to 5 am. local time.

States of exception have been recurrent since the beginning of Lasso's presidential term in May 2021 in an attempt to quell the peaks of violence in Ecuador's insecurity crisis.

Several candidates have halted their campaigns in a sign of mourning following Mayor Agustín Intriago's murder.

So far one person has been arrested for the crime, a Venezuelan citizen who is hospitalized after being wounded in the attack, while the police have also been able to recover four cell phones which are under analysis, as well as the remains of the shots fired at the deceased mayor.

Intriago's case is added to the attack last May against the mayor of Durán, Luis Chonillo, who this Monday participated in the Security Committee, and to murders that have occurred in Ecuador in the last months, including that of the Congressional hopeful Rider Sánchez in the coastal province of Esmeraldas.

Ecuador's Security Committee will convene again Tuesday in Guayaquil with representatives of the Association of Municipalities of Ecuador (AME), the Consortium of Autonomous Provincial Governments of Ecuador (Congope), and the National Council of Rural Parish Governments of Ecuador (Conagopare).

The AME plans to make a statement on the situation of violence and threats that some local authorities in the country are facing from delinquency and organized crime.

Ecuador closed 2022 with the highest rate of violent deaths in its history, registering 25.32 per 100,000 inhabitants, boosted by street and organized crime, largely linked to drug trafficking.

At the same time, Ecuador has also activated security protocols in prisons as inmates hold some 90 corrections officers hostage in penitentiaries in Cotopaxi, Cañar, Azuay, El Oro, and Napo, according to the SNAI (National Service of Integral Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders) prison bureau.

The SNAI said in a press release that in 13 penitentiaries in the provinces of Imbabura, Napo, Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Azuay, Cañar, El Oro, Guayas, Cotopaxi and Pichincha there are people on hunger strike. The agency emphasized that measures are being taken to restore normality.

The agency also stated that the number of persons deprived of liberty who died as a result of clashes between Organized Crime Groups (GDO) remains at six, and the number of wounded at eleven.

A wave of violence has been reported in the nation affecting the penitentiary system and the citizens in several regions of the country and so far, the State has not been able to control the situations of violence generated by alleged drug gangs disputing the territory.

Until Sunday, inmates maintained this measure in ten of the 36 prisons in the country, including the Guayaquil penitentiary, also known as Guayas 1.

Authorities “promote dialogue with the spokespersons of the penitentiary centers to know the reasons for the measures”, noted the SNAI.

The hunger strike began after the news of a new and tragic clash in the Guayaquil penitentiary. On Sunday, six inmates were killed and eleven injured in clashes between rival gangs. They are disputing control of the prisons and territories for drug sales.

Since February 2021, there have been a dozen mass prison incidents that have claimed the lives of more than 420 inmates. These prisoner clashes in Ecuador have left a trail of charred, dismembered, and decapitated bodies.

A recent census established that the 36 local prisons - with a capacity for some 30,000 people - hold a population of 31,321 inmates, including 3,245 foreigners. Most of the arrests were related to drug trafficking.

A peace committee last year called Ecuador's prisons “warehouses of human beings and torture centers.”


Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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