Ecuador, a South American country known for its diverse landscape and rich history, is currently grappling with a wave of violence and political unrest that has led to a state of emergency being declared in several parts of the country.
Ecuador’s President, Guillermo Lasso, has taken drastic measures in response to the recent surge of violence, declaring a state of emergency in three coastal provinces. This move follows a violent weekend in the Andean country that led to the loss of multiple lives.
The state of emergency has been declared in the provinces of Manabi and Los Rios, as well as in the city of Duran, located near Guayaquil. This decision was taken in reaction to the assassination of a notable figure in the country, Agustin Intriago, the mayor of the coastal city, Manta.
The government has announced that the state of emergency will last for 60 days in the provinces, with the curfew times varying during this period.
The declaration of a state of emergency did not come out of the blue. It was in response to a series of unfortunate events that have shaken the nation in recent days.
The murder of Agustin Intriago, the mayor of Manta, was the tipping point that led to the declaration of the state of emergency. The investigation into his murder is ongoing, under the watchful eyes of President Lasso.
The country has also been grappling with a wave of prison riots. The weekend before the declaration saw deadly riots in Penitenciaria del Litoral, a prison in Guayaquil. The clashes between gangs inside the prison left a significant number of inmates dead and injured.
In a shocking turn of events, prisoners took 96 guards as hostages in multiple jails across the country. In addition to this, a hunger strike began in 13 Ecuadorean prisons, with the reasons for the strike still unclear.
According to President Lasso, the problem of organized crime has been brewing in the country for over a decade. The state, political organizations, and even society itself have been infiltrated by these criminal elements.
The violence has had a profound impact on the country. The prison system, in particular, has been hit hard.
The South American country’s prison system has been dealing with structural problems for decades. However, jail violence has escalated since 2021, leading to the death of at least 400 people in various confrontations. This alarming rise in violence has attracted the attention of international organizations like the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In another shocking incident, a presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, was assassinated after a rally in Quito. This incident sent shockwaves throughout the country and led to President Lasso declaring three days of national mourning.
Villavicencio, a 59-year-old journalist and politician, was known for his anti-corruption stance. He was a popular candidate in the upcoming presidential race, with many considering him the second most popular choice.
The assassination led to the injury of nine other people, including a candidate running for the national legislature and two policemen. The alleged attackers were swiftly dealt with, with one being killed by security personnel and six others arrested in subsequent raids.
President Lasso has described the assassination as a “political crime” with a “terrorist character,” seeing it as an attempt to sabotage the electoral process. However, he has also reaffirmed his commitment to holding the general elections scheduled for later in the month.
In his address to the nation, President Lasso announced that the Armed Forces would be mobilized throughout the national territory to guarantee the security of citizens and ensure the tranquility of the country.
Despite the turmoil, the President of the National Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint, has confirmed that the date of the elections scheduled for August 20 remains unchangeable.
Ecuador has been dealing with violence linked to drug trafficking in recent years. This underlying issue has contributed to the current state of unrest in the country.
The future of Ecuador hangs in the balance as it grapples with political unrest, violence, and the upcoming elections. The actions taken by President Lasso and his government in the coming days will be crucial in determining the country’s path forward.
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