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Ecuador under a state of exception: is it necessary to take the armed forces to the streets or is it a distraction?

Ecuador under a state of exception: is it necessary to take the armed forces to the streets or is it a distraction?

Ecuador under a state of exception: is it necessary to take the armed forces to the streets or is it a distraction?

In the streets of Ecuador there is only one enemy: drug trafficking”. Due to the increase in violence caused by the illegal drug trade, the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, declared yesterday the state of exception in all the territory.

Starting immediately, our Armed Forces and police will feel strongly in the streets“He added in a message broadcast on the state television channel.

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In addition, Lasso announced the resignation of Defense Minister, Fernando Donoso, and his replacement, Luis Hernandez, who also referred to the same issue.

Now the threats are inside, why not [se] You can walk calmly due to the threat of crime and the insecurity of drug trafficking. That’s why we all have [que] pitch in and the armed forces they can’t be sideways”.

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But how much is Lasso’s decision really about drug trafficking?

Is there a possibility that it is a way of distracting public opinion from the crises -the great riot in a Guayaquil jail and the appearance of Lasso in the Pandora Papers– What has your management been suffering?

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Members of the Armed Forces search a car on the outskirts of Quito, looking for weapons and ammunition. EFE (Armed Forces /)

A real emergency?

There are different lines of interpretation about Lasso’s decision and they all have some degree of consistency –says the Ecuadorian researcher and political analyst Julio Echeverría-. What is certain is that his government is going through a very difficult situation. There are pressures of different kinds”.

Echeverría refers not only to the terrible prison situation, but also to the Pandora Papers – which attested to some companies that Lasso had in tax havens. To this, in addition, the fall in the polls is added.

According to the Ecuadorian portal Expreso, the figures vary depending on the pollster, but all agree that their approval has dropped. Until October 4, Cedats indicates that it adds a support of 63.5% – a decrease of 10.6% compared to last month-, while Opinion Profiles places it with a much lower figure: 34.01%, a drop of no less than 30 points compared to the August investigation, when it touched 64% of support.

I believe that the emergency decree is a warning to social movements, a way to soften them, to make them reduce their radicalism. Although I don’t know how successful it can be”. Echeverría says that they are still fresh in the memory of Ecuadorians October 2019 demonstrations -which ended with deaths- and that the government wants to ensure that they do not happen again.

And this makes sense if one takes into account that these protests were “manipulated by correísmo”And that, currently, the president has serious difficulties to govern. Lasso does not have a majority in Parliament, so, for Echeverría, “feels cornered“And live a”quite complicated scenario for the implementation of your economic program”.

The problems manifested after the breaking of the agreement with the Social Christian Party, Pachakutik and the Democratic Left. The government is orphaned of parliamentary support and it is in this context that the emergency decree is issued”.

Given the lack of consensus, Lasso’s management decided to put all the cards on the table and “warn”Who are not willing to tolerate a repeat of 2019.

Yesterday, indigenous people from the Huaorani, Cofan, Secoya and Kichwa Amazonian communities marched against Executive Decree 95, issued by the Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, which orders various actions to increase current oil production in Quito (Ecuador).  EFE

Yesterday, indigenous people from the Huaorani, Cofan, Secoya and Kichwa Amazonian communities marched against Executive Decree 95, issued by the Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, which orders various actions to increase current oil production in Quito (Ecuador). EFE (José Jácome /)

A worrying crisis

However, it would be a mistake to deny that Ecuador has seen an increase in insecurity and that this is related to the presence of drug trafficking.

The revolt in the prisons and the chaos of the prison system is extremely serious”, Says the specialist and he is not mistaken. In 2020 alone, cartel fights killed 51 prisoners, and a few weeks ago the riot in the Litoral Penitentiary -One of the largest of Guayaquil– left more than 100 dead in what is already “the worst prison massacre” from the country.

A soldier on a tank protects the Litoral prison, located in Guayaquil.  REUTERS

A soldier on a tank protects the Litoral prison, located in Guayaquil. REUTERS (STRINGER /)

The increase in the hitman is alarming –according to El Universo, “violent deaths do not stop, despite operations and interventions”-. For Echeverría, it is necessary to act more “intelligent”, with a reform, a more comprehensive intervention”.

And the declaration of emergency is not enough to address this issue. So I think it has to do with warning social movements, a way to avoid drastic or virulent social expression”. In that sense, the specialist understands that it is the way in which the government seeks to reverse the disapproval rates “and disrepute“, A resource for”get out of the spiral of Pandora Papers”And“widespread discontent”Which is already beginning to be expressed.

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