QUITO, Ecuador – President Guillermo Lasso has declared a state of emergency to combat drug trafficking and other crimes in Ecuador, saying the military and police will take to the streets to ensure safety.
V national transmission On Monday night, Mr. Lasso said, “There is only one enemy: the drug trade.” He noted that Ecuador has turned from a trafficking zone into a country that also uses drugs.
“This is reflected not only on the amount of drugs consumed in our country, but also on the number of crimes that today are directly or indirectly related to the sale of drugs,” he said.
The state of emergency gives the authorities the right to restrict freedom of movement, assembly and association.
Mr Lasso said drug trafficking has triggered an increase in homicide, burglary, theft of cars and goods, and robberies.
This year, the country’s prisons have seen violent uprisings over drug-related violence, especially in Guayaquil. The clashes ended in a massacre by inmates of rival mafia gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels. About 230 people died in the colonies.
Last weekend in Guayaquil, a 13-year-old boy was killed while eating ice cream with his family in Guayaquil after being caught in crossfire between militants and a police officer.
In Guayas province, the number of homicides has increased by 70 percent – this year the number has increased to 641.
The president announced the creation of a legal defense unit to protect uniformed officers who, he said, had been sued for performing their duties. Mr Lasso said that judges should “guarantee peace and order, not impunity and crime.”
“The national government is using all law enforcement agencies to accomplish one task: restoring the safety of citizens,” he added. “We will take the battle to the underworld, wherever he hides.”