HomeWorldExplainer: What is happening in Ecuador? - Times of India

Explainer: What is happening in Ecuador? – Times of India

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Ecuador, a South American country known for its rich culture and biodiversity, is currently facing a severe internal crisis. The nation has been thrust into a state of turmoil due to escalating violence and criminal activities, primarily driven by powerful drug gangs. This explainer delves into the recent events that have shaken Ecuador, highlighting key incidents, the government’s response, and the broader implications of these developments.
Key incidents

  • Attack on TC television: In a shocking incident, masked men armed with pistols and explosives stormed the set of the TC Television network in Guayaquil during a live broadcast. The assailants, who appeared to have sticks of dynamite, caused panic by declaring they had bombs. Although no fatalities were reported, the audacity of the attack, broadcasted live to thousands, marked a significant escalation in the violence gripping the nation.
  • Prison escapes and gang violence: The recent turmoil follows the escapes of two notorious gang leaders, Adolfo Macías of Los Choneros and Fabricio Colón Pico of Los Lobos, from Ecuadorian prisons. These escapes have been linked to a series of violent attacks across the country, including the abductions of several police officers.
  • Government’s response: President Daniel Noboa has declared a national state of emergency, allowing for the suspension of certain rights and the mobilization of the military. Additionally, Noboa designated 20 drug trafficking gangs as terrorist groups and authorized military action against them, recognizing the situation as an “internal armed conflict.”
  • Arrests and charges: Following the TC Television incident, Ecuador’s national police chief announced the arrest of all the masked intruders. The attorney general’s office stated that these individuals would be charged with terrorism, facing up to 13 years in prison if convicted.

What led to the current state of violence in Ecuador?
The escalation in violence is largely attributed to the growing influence of drug trafficking gangs, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact.The gangs have exploited weak state control, especially in prisons, to expand their power.
How has the government reacted to these challenges?

  • President Noboa has implemented a series of measures including declaring a 60-day state of emergency – a tool used by his predecessor Guillermo Lasso to little success – enabling military patrols, including in prisons, and setting a national nighttime curfew.
  • Noboa said he recognized an “internal armed conflict” in Ecuador and identified several criminal gangs as terrorist groups, including Los Choneros. The decree ordered the armed forces to neutralize the groups.
  • Noboa’s coalition has a majority in the national assembly, something Lasso lacked, but some Ecuadoreans are questioning why the president is not taking harsher measures against gangs.
  • Noboa plans to hold a security-focused plebiscite later this year, which would include asking the public if the government should undo a ban on the extradition of Ecuadoreans wanted abroad and if asset seizures from suspected criminals should be allowed.

What are the implications of these developments for Ecuador?
The surge in violence and the government’s response have significant implications for public safety, human rights, and Ecuador’s international reputation. The situation has also impacted financial markets, with Ecuadorian bonds falling in value due to growing concerns over the country’s stability.
What is the international community’s stance on this issue?
While specific reactions from the international community are not detailed in the provided information, such situations typically draw global attention, with calls for restoring peace and respecting human rights.
What are the prospects for resolving this crisis?
The resolution of this crisis hinges on the government’s ability to effectively combat gang violence, restore order in prisons, and address underlying social and economic issues. The proposed security-focused plebiscite by President Noboa could be a step towards broader reforms.
(With inputs from agencies)





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