Ecuador’s Rising Crime Wave: A Deep Dive into the Unprecedented Surge of Violence
State of Emergency Amid Rising Violence
Despite President Guillermo Lasso’s declaration of a national state of emergency on August 9, following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, Durán, a city in Ecuador, has seen a significant increase in murders. Mayor Luis Chonillo also declared a state of emergency in Durán due to escalated levels of violence. While the mayor requested support from the central government to curb the rising insecurity, the response appears to be less than satisfactory, even with the recent deployment of tactical Cobra II vehicles to the Armed Forces in the area.
The Education Dilemma
Despite the soaring violence, the Ministry of Education has not authorized a shift from in-person to virtual classes to prevent incidents in schools. The city of Durán has witnessed more than 190 violent deaths this year, marking a 60% increase compared to the previous year, according to official figures.
Drug War: A Root Cause of Violence
Local media attribute the surge in violence to a ruthless war between the narcocriminal gangs Latin Kings and Chone Killers vying for complete territory control. The area has become a drug collection center from which cocaine shipments depart to Posorja, for eventual distribution via merchant ships or speedboats to the north of the continent.
Government’s Stance on the Issue
President Lasso, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, stated that the violence currently plaguing the country is due to the “blow to the pockets of criminals” caused by drug seizures. However, experts argue that a lack of public policies and social investments contribute significantly to the problem.
A Bloodied Record
In 2022, Ecuador experienced its bloodiest year, with 4,823 intentional homicides. This year is set to conclude with an even higher figure, with 4,835 homicides recorded by August. The escalating crime wave in Ecuador is a cause for concern and necessitates immediate action at various levels of governance and society.
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