Ecuador’s Escalating Violence: An Ongoing Battle Against Criminal Organizations

What’s going on in Ecuador? | Are we seeing an increase in violence?

Ecuador is experiencing an escalation of violence, with the President declaring an internal armed conflict on January 9. This followed three massacres that resulted in the deaths of 17 people and injuries to several others. The Attorney General’s Office issued a warning about criminal organizations attempting to destabilize the country and hinder ongoing investigations such as the Metastasis Case.

The state of emergency was initially imposed for 60 days in January but was extended by the President on March 8 for another 30 days. It remains unclear if it will be extended further on April 8. Despite the militarization of streets in violent cities to combat gangs, criminal activity has persisted, leading to a new wave of violence over the weekend.

From January to March 2024, instances of extortion and kidnapping have increased across the country. In Guayaquil alone, extortion cases have quintupled from the previous year. Three massacres occurred over the weekend, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.

The first massacre involved Ecuadorian tourists who were kidnapped and later found dead with gunshot wounds. The second incident took place during a volleyball game in Guayaquil, where multiple individuals were shot and killed. The third attack occurred in Fort Lauderdale, where individuals were fired upon by gunmen on motorcycles.

The ongoing violence has raised concerns about the security situation in Ecuador, with experts noting different dynamics of violence in various regions of the country. The Metastasis Case, which investigates organized crime and corruption, has not directly translated into street violence. However, it has brought attention to this issue and prompted government action against criminal elements in Ecuador.

Despite these challenges, the government continues to address issues related to criminal activity and violence in Ecuador through its efforts towards improving security measures and addressing root causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment.

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