Less than two months after taking the reins of Ecuador, the President Daniel Noboa, decreed this Monday a Exception status due to the combination of two events that put its security policy in check. On one hand, the escape of the most powerful drug trafficker in that country, José Adolfo Macías Villamar, alias Fitothe leader of Los Choneros. At the same time, a series of riots in at least six prisons, with the retention of prison guards and the burning of mattresses. In the Turi center, in Cuenca, some inmates climbed to the roofs to destroy the cameras and thus demand that no transfer be made to another penitentiary unit. According to the newspaper ‘El Universo’, the videos recorded in all the prisons follow the same pattern: the guards read a message and, behind them, hooded inmates display “knives and machetes.”
“We are not going to negotiate with terrorists nor will we rest until we return peace to Ecuadorians,” the president said in a video lasting a little more than a minute. The measure, taken on several occasions by his predecessor, Gullermo Lasso, allows him to order the intervention of the Armed Forces, in support to the Police, to control internal security, especially in penitentiary centers.
“I have just signed the state of emergency decree so that the Armed Forces have all the political and legal support for their actions,” he said on Instagram. “These narcoterrorist groups They try to intimidate us and believe that we will give in to their demands. “I have given clear and precise provisions to military and police commanders to intervene in the control of prisons.”
Curfew and military mobilization
The state of emergency, a measure dictated for 60 days, empowers Noboa, who took office in November for a year and a half after being elected in early elections, to mobilize the military to the streets and enter the penitentiaries citing a “serious commotion.” internal” in the nation, as well as suspending citizen rights. He also orders a six-hour curfew, between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. local (4:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. GMT).
The escape of alias Fito generated a real shock at the Carondelet Palace. The Secretary of Communication of the Ecuadorian Government, Roberto Izurieta, stated on Monday to the Teleamazonas channel that “most likely” is that there were “infiltrations” in the prison regarding an imminent security operation and that Fito escaped “hours before.”
The Ecuadorian prosecutor’s office has already filed charges against two prison officials “who would be involved in the escape” of Macías. Los Choneros is the most feared gang in Ecuador and bloody disputes over drug trafficking routes with other criminal groups with connections to cartels in Mexico and Colombia. Noboa won the elections with the promise of implementing a new policy to eradicate violence which causes drug trafficking inside and outside of prisons. The Choneros are not only considered the operational arm of the Sinaloa Cartel in Ecuador. In addition to drug trafficking, they are dedicated to robbery, hitmen and extortion. In just a few years, that country has become the most violent in the region.
The security crisis is reflected in horrifying numbers: 40 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In Nueva Prosperina, a neighborhood in the south of Guayaquil, the capital of the coastal province of Guayas, Guayaquil, where Los Choneros and other groups fight over territory with bullets, the rate reaches 114 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is one of the highest rates on the planet.
The young president criticized the opposition and said that, given the circumstances, there is no room for politicians who seek to make a profit.