Ecuador grapples with spiraling violence

Asia's Tech News Daily

Ecuador grapples with spiraling violence
© Provided by dw.com President Lasso’s state of emergency restricts freedom of movement and assembly and affords full impunity to security forces

It was meant to be a fun family trip to an ice cream parlor. But it ended in tragedy.

Eleven-year-old Sebastian was standing at the counter; his parents were sitting at a table with his little sister. Suddenly, shots rang out. Two gunemen exchanged fire with the police on the street corner in front of the ice cream parlor. The father pushed his daughter to safety under the table and called out to his son. Sebastian was trying to reach his mother when he was hit by a bullet that proved fatal.

This incident took place last Sunday in the port city of Guayaquil. It’s far from being an isolated one. In recent months, violence in Ecuador has spiked significantly. Between January and October of this year, nearly 1,900 homicides (11 per 100,000 inhabitants) were registered in the South American country, according to the government. In 2020, the total figure for the entire year was around 1,400.

The main cause for the violence is the increasing presence of rival Mexican drug cartels that are vying to take control of the international drug trade’s transit routes. Located between major cocaine producers Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is a major hub for drug trafficking both to the US and to Europe.

Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, is particularly hard-hit. At the end of September, riots broke out in an overcrowded prison, killing more than 100 people. Bloody clashes like these are a regular occurrence in Ecuador’s chronically overflowing jails.

What’s behind the state of emergency?

On Monday this week, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declared a 60-day nationwide state of emergency, saying it was needed to facilitate a concerted fight against crime in the country. The military and police were immediately dispatched to patrol the streets to provide greater security.

The state of emergency also gives authorities the power to restrict freedom of movement and assembly. Using militaristic words, the president pledged his full support to the security forces and guaranteed them impunity in the performance of their duties.

Many observers, however, suspect that the fight against crime and drug trafficking isn’t the only reason for Lasso’s state of emergency.

“It is frightening that Lasso is broadening the concept of criminals and terrorists to include those on strike, for example, indigenous peoples, rice farmers or transport organizations,” Constantin Groll, head of the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Ecuador, told DW. “The state of emergency has meant that the strikes and protests of these organizations have been put on hold for the time being.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also apparently saw fit to remind President Lasso to respect democratic rules. During a visit to the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, Blinken said that drug trafficking must be combated without violating “democratic values.”

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the Latin America division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), for his part warned against the presence of the military on the streets, pointing out that “the armed forces are trained for war, not for controlling public order and crime.”

Poverty and economic crisis as root cause

Critics say populist tough-on-crime policies and a heavy presence of security forces on the streets could easily obscure the country’s real problems. Growing poverty and social inequality are important factors breeding violence in Eucador.

The South American country, with a population of around 17 million, is mired in a deep economic crisis. According to government figures, gross domestic product (GDP) plummeted by 7.5% last year. Around one-third of Ecuadorians currently live in poverty, with numbers soaring as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ecuador’s conservative President Lasso, a former banker, took office only in May this year after a narrow election victory. He’s already considered to be in trouble.

Lasso’s name emerged in the Pandora Papers, a leak of documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exposing secret offshore accounts of a host of world leaders. The revelations it contained prompted the Ecuadorian Parliament to vote in favor of a parliamentary investigation against the president. The investigation is to examine whether Lasso violated Ecuadorian law by owning assets in tax havens.

President’s floundering policies

“In the first months of his presidency, Lasso’s popularity soared. A successful vaccination campaign gave his presidency a good start,” Ecuadorian anthropologist and migration researcher Jacques Ramírez Gallegos said in an interview with DW. But Gallegos added that this had been the extent of his successes.

Gallego said Lasso’s break with the Social Christian Party (PSC), with whose help he gained presidential office, deprived him of the majority he needed in parliament to pass urgent reform projects. “A lack of experience and ineptitude also ensured that none of the laws planned by the Lasso government could be passed in parliament,” Ramírez Gallegos said, adding that the most important projects failed not because of their content, but for formal reasons.

The imposition of the state of emergency can thus also be seen as a consequence of the failed alliance and of the mistakes of Lasso’s current government. But not everyone agrees.

“At the very least, the state of emergency reflects a disdain for the democratic rules of the game and institutions and a lack of a consensus-oriented political culture,” Constantin Groll of the FES in Quito said.

Meanwhile, resentment against the government has been growing among the population. Planned protests have become impossible for the time being because of the state of emergency. According to the Perfiles de Opinion polling institute, support for Guillermo Lasso, which was initially at 74 %, has now crashed to just 34 %.

Groll is concerned at the current developments. “There is a lot of speculation in Ecuador as to whether and how long the government can hold on to power. Opinions diverge widely. Personally, I find this question rather unimportant,” Groll said.

“I am much more concerned that with each new confrontation, [Ecuador’s] already poor democratic political culture and democracy as a whole will be damaged.”

This article has been translated from German.

Author: Gabriel Gonzalez Zorrilla

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Covid: figures reveal vaccine lottery for children in England

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images Children in some parts of England are three times more likely to be vaccinated than others, figures from the House of ... Read more »

‘I think some s**t's going down here' – Garth Brooks responds to fan asking him if he's playing a Galway gig in 2022

© Provided by Extra.ie Country music legend Garth Brooks responded to a viewer asking if he’s going to be playing a Galway gig in 2022. Garth is scheduled to play ... Read more »

I'm A Celeb's Ant and Dec mock Boris Johnson's secret lockdown Christmas parties

Ant and Dec had a bit of fun at Boris Johnson’s expense on tonight’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! The Geordie duo were talking about who was up ... Read more »

Arlene Phillips first star voted off I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here

© Bang Showbiz Arlene Phillips has left camp Arlene Phillips has been voted off ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’. The former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge – who, ... Read more »

Family beats salary in pandemic times

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: A senior executive in a plum posting at a large organisation in Mumbai wanted to relocate to Bengaluru to be with her ... Read more »

Conference on ‘Recent Innovation & Challenges in Aerospace, Defence Related Mechanisms' concludes

© Provided by The Indian Express THE Pune chapter of Indian National Society for Aerospace and Related Mechanisms (INSARM) organised a three-day national conference in Pune between December 2 and ... Read more »

RBI expected to hold repo, may hike reverse repo rate

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to hold its repo rate (currently 4%) in the forthcoming monetary policy on December ... Read more »

Homage paid to '71 martyrs on Navy Day

© Provided by The Indian Express Navy Day was marked at INS Shivaji on Saturday with a number of activities on the theme of Navy Week 2021: ‘Indian Navy: Combat ... Read more »

Delhi: Police bust gang that duped people of Rs 1.2 crore

© Provided by The Indian Express The Crime Branch busted an online extortion gang and arrested the gang leader for allegedly blackmailing at least 12 people in the last year. ... Read more »

Max Financial Services Rating: Buy- Growth rate expected to rise over next 5 years

© Provided by The Financial Express The past few years have been challenging for Max Life, with the management’s focus on simplifying the organisation structure. We hosted an investor day ... Read more »

Pension bill of PSBs may be an impediment for sale

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: Pension liabilities of public sector banks (PSBs) would impede prospective buyers should current provisioning norms continue. If a private promoter takes over ... Read more »

Omicron may influence rates of term insurance

© Provided by The Times of India Mumbai: The discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus has delayed stability in the term insurance market. Insurers, who are raising ... Read more »

The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday December 6.

© Getty Images The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday December 6. Cleo Smith abduction accused in WA court Cleo Smith’s alleged abductor is set ... Read more »

Lethbridge Police Service hosts series of women's-only boot camps

The Lethbridge Police Service is trying out a new recruitment initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the service. © Global News The Lethbridge Police Service is hoping a series of ... Read more »

0:6! Gladbach kassiert historische Pleite +++ Shaqiri mit Vorlage gegen Petkovics Bordeaux

© SASCHA STEINBACH/keystone-sda.ch epa09624206 Moenchengladbach players (L-R) Marcus Thuram, Nico Elvedi, and Matthias Ginter react after conceding Freiburg’s 3-0 lead during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and ... Read more »

Silvan Rudolf mit Köniz schon bald auf Abschiedstournee

Erstligist Köniz muss auf Trainersuche gehen, der SC Langenthal gewinnt wieder, und Huttwil gibt eine Führung aus der Hand. News aus der Region. © Marcel Bieri Silvan Rudolf steht seit ... Read more »

Philippines faces another infection wave as Omicron looms

© Provided by BusinessWorld By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter and Norman P. Aquino, Special Reports Editor PAULINE F. CONVOCAR, a Filipino emergency physician, had to turn down patients upon ... Read more »

Talles Magno's late goal lifts NYCFC over Union, into first MLS Cup final

New York City FC celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Union in the MLS Eastern Conference Final. Getty Images CHESTER, Pa. — Talles Magno scored in the 88th minute to send ... Read more »

Giants report card: This is getting ridiculous

Grading the Giants’ 20-9 loss to the Dolphins on at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Offense This has gone from bad to worse to ridiculous. No touchdowns, 250 total yards. ... Read more »

Verstappen given 10-second penalty for causing Hamilton clash in Saudi Arabian GP

© Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in a number of incidents through Sunday’s ... Read more »

Lucid's Short-Term Victories Must Lead To Long-Term Success

© InsideEVs Production Lucid Air Highway and City Streets Drive (source: EV Nomads – Branden & Kalie) The startup has gotten over the major challenge of reaching production, but many ... Read more »

Ham, lechon prices up as Christmas nears

soh-2 Prices of Christmas staples ham and lechon have shot up, due to high demand amid the holiday season and the impact of the African swine fever on the sector. ... Read more »

Darren Gough takes huge pay cut to leave talkSPORT and become Yorkshire director of cricket

Former Yorkshire cricket captain Darren Gough looks set to enjoy a surprise return to the county as their new director of cricket, marking his first role at the club since ... Read more »

Toni Kroos: A Master of Ball Progression

© Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images “Real Madrid’s games always run on Kroos’ rhythm” – Casemiro. Toni Kroos, Real Madrid’s midfield general, has played and won a lot with ... Read more »

Ethan Crumbley's parents ‘were helped after Oxford High shooting by artist who let them hide in his studio'

THE parents of alleged Oxford high school shooter Ethan Crumbley were helped by a Detroit artist who reportedly let them hide in his studio's basement after they were charged with ... Read more »

Omicron means it's time to switch to N95 masks

Omicron means it’s time to switch to N95 masks The omicron variant is spreading fast. According to the World Health Organization, at least 38 countries, on six continents, have confirmed ... Read more »

Vicky Kaushal & Katrina Kaif's wedding: Jewel Gamadia & Yasmin Karachiwala invited: Report

© Provided by Pinkvilla Finally, Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif’s royal wedding is just upon us. The couple is also starting their legendary wedding shenanigans from tomorrow (7 December) at ... Read more »

The costs of Biden's war on oil include higher gas prices

President Joe Biden speaks on the economy during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building on November 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images ... Read more »

Tom Holland and Zendaya joke about height difference

© Provided by Cover Media Tom Holland Tom Holland and Zendaya have joked about how their height difference altered a stunt on Spider-Man: No Way Home. The real-life couple made ... Read more »

RUTH SUNDERLAND: LV's alarm call for mutuals

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo Britain’s mutual building societies, insurance companies and co-operatives were once a potent force. A product of the Victorian era’s reforming zeal, they ... Read more »

Expats working in three countries may not be eligible for state pension from next year

Due to Brexit, workers who live in the EU, EEA, or Switzerland will have to recalculate the amount of “qualifying years” they have endured to see if they meet the ... Read more »

Liam Scales stakes his Celtic claim as debut goal has Irish rising star dreaming of regular place

Liam Scales admitted his phone was red hot after opening his Celtic account – but he’s hoping to get the call from Ange Postecoglou for Thursday. The former Shamrock Rovers ... Read more »

Keir Starmer says anti-vaxxers must 'think again' as NHS resources drained by unjabbed

Keir Starmer has urged anti-vaxxers and jab sceptics to “think again” as he prepares to get his booster vaccine. The Labour leader, who is due to have his third dose ... Read more »

Gambit top EMEA Pro League despite Alliance victory

© Provided by Dot Esports The final day of the first split’s regular season took place with concurrently running lobbies, so no teams would be handed an unfair advantage with ... Read more »

I'm A Celeb's Arlene Phillips becomes first campmate to be eliminated from ITV's 2021 series

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! has seen its first contestant, Arlene Phillips, eliminated from Gwrych Castle. The 78 year old, whose daughters recently said they weren’t “embarrassed” ... Read more »

How to unlock the Tropical Soda Islands and what it does in Cookie Run Kingdom

© Provided by GamePur In Cookie Run Kingdom, there’s a very helpful mode called Tropical Soda Islands. This mode can earn you a steady stream of items. However, it isn’t ... Read more »

Patrick Vieira outlines Ralf Rangnick impact during Manchester United victory

Patrick Vieira has revealed that the appointment of Ralf Rangnick had a major impact on how Crystal Palace approached their Premier League game with Manchester United. Having finally been granted ... Read more »

Speaker voices ‘deep concern' at reports of drug-taking in Parliament

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is to raise reports of drug misuse in Parliament with the police “as a priority”. © House of Commons Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has ... Read more »

Overwatch fan creates Workshop mode to visualize the range of every ability

© Provided by Dot Esports Every Overwatch player has uttered the words, “there’s no way I was in range of that.” One fan decided enough was enough, so they went ... Read more »

Mikel Arteta to show no mercy on under-fire Rafa Benitez and former club Everton

Mikel Arteta admits he can show no mercy towards under-fire Rafa Benitez – but insists he has the quality and experience to turn things around. Arteta had six years at ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic