The president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, He spoke about the wave of violence that the country is experiencing and the measures that his Government has taken, including a decree in which the existence of an internal armed conflict was declared.. In an interview with RCN’s La FM, the president defended the decisions he has been making and highlighted the need for international cooperation in the fight against criminal organizations.
Noboa assured that Ecuador has a special feature, given its dollarized economy and the volume moved by the ports, especially that of Guayaquil. “Even though Ecuador does not produce, or produces little, it is the springboard for crime to be carried out.”
Regarding the Colombian prisoners who are in Ecuador, The president recalled that there is an old agreement in which exchanges can take place. Furthermore, the country’s laws determine that any foreign prisoner with an enforceable sentence of five years or more can be returned to his or her country. “We have overcrowding of more than 3,000 people in our prisons, today since we cannot sustain the number of prisoners there are, we must execute the plan” of returning prisoners.
Guayaquil, the largest coastal city in Ecuador, It is considered the most dangerous in the country, since by the end of 2022, it registered an 80% increase in homicides.
Its ports are a center for drug trafficking to the United States and Europedue to the participation of Mexican cartels and dissident Colombian guerrilla groups.
The first Ecuadorian president He specified that although foreign military bases are constitutionally prohibited from existingthat does not mean that there cannot be international cooperation and surveillance.
“These are not conventional gangs, these are narcoterrorist groups, they are groups of tens of thousands of armed peoplewhich operate in several countries, which at the same time have criminal structures and have support from cartels from abroad,” Noboa added on RCN’s La FM.
The president has faced an escalation of violence, for which decreed a 60-day state of emergency, along with a night curfew in the territory. Likewise, he ordered the Armed Forces to carry out the necessary military actions to neutralize the criminal groups, now considered terrorist organizations.
“Ecuador has already said enough, in a democratic way, we have declared war on narcoterrorism (…) These groups are the ones that manage the main penitentiary centers and, from there, they control a lot of the crimes.. From there, the orders are given, it has gotten worse in the last six years and in the last year and a half there has been a total lack of control,” he added. “This is not a conventional war, This is a war where the enemy is in the territory and is capturing certain areas“.
Noboa insisted on the idea that there be specific international attention for Ecuador, because it is where drug trafficking crimes are becoming a reality, and drew attention to the fact that the region has allowed the problem to grow uncontrolled.
The president too has asked the National Assembly to approve an increase in VAT with the aim of financing the measures with which it seeks to confront the security crisis that the country is experiencing. In the last week, the country has lived in the midst of explosives, bomb threats, the murder of a prosecutor and even the takeover of a television station by a group of hooded men.
Noboa’s proposal seeks to increase VAT from 12% to 15%. According to official accounts, The increase in VAT could leave revenues of US$1,000 million this year if it comes into force from March, with the idea that later it will be able to raise US$1,300 million each year.
Ecuador faces the security crisis in the midst of a declining economy. The World Bank adjusted growth forecasts last week to 0.7% for this year and expects a 2% increase in 2025..
The Noboa Government seeks the support of international organizations, Therefore, it is also preparing a spending cut equivalent to around 2% of GDP to continue accessing multilateral loans.. In 2023, the fiscal deficit soared to around 5% of GDP.