HomeNewsBriefEcuador Joins Regional Moves to Militarize Drug War
BRIEF

Ecuador Joins Regional Moves to Militarize Drug War

ECUADOR / 13 NOV 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Ecuador has dispatched a military patrol to combat drug trafficking in the western coastal province of Manabi, a strategy likely linked both to the province's strategic importance to drug trafficking and a wider move to militarize security in the country.

Marcelo Bastidas, the head of the unit moved to the province, said 100 soldiers operating in 10 specialized vehicles would remain in the area for two months, occupying the five towns of El Carmen, Pedernales, Jama, Sucre and San Vicente, reported El Universo. The Ministry of Defense said the group will work to uncover clandestine airstrips, control the flow of arms through the area and carry out joint intelligence work with the police, reported El Comercio.

According to local military chief Angel Orellana, the convoy will also build checkpoints to create a permanent military presence in the region.

Manabi officials reported that 1.6 tons of drugs and 22 firearms have been seized in the region so far this year and 274 people have been arrested.

InSight Crime Analysis

The militarization of Manabi occurs as Ecuador continues to gain prominence as a drug transit hub. In December 2012, a former military chief claimed the number of maritime trafficking routes in Ecuador had increased 90 percent in seven years, attributing this partly to the 2009 closure of a US military base in Manabi.

While most of Ecuador's drug traffic runs through the northern coastal province of Esmeraldas, which borders Colombia, and the port city of GuayaquilManabi has also been the site of various finds. Last year, a plane crashed in Manabi with $1.4 million on board, the pilots of which allegedly worked for Mexican cartels, and three Mexicans and a go-fast boat were caught off the coast of San Vicente. It has also been the base of operations for local gang "Los Choneros" -- described by the government as "the worst organized crime gang of the past 20 years."

The move also takes place in the context of a wider plan to increase the use of the military in fighting crime in Ecuador, a strategy that could be related to the corrupt reputation of the police. However, the militarization of security is more commonly seen in countries with higher levels of drug-related violence than Ecuador, raising the possibility that the move is partly motivated by President Rafael Correa's rocky relationship with the police after a 2010 revolt, characterized by Correa as an attempted coup.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 31 MAY 2022

The siphoning of guns in police custody to criminals and a naval officer accused of acting in a hit squad…

ECUADOR / 1 JUN 2021

Timber mafias operating along Ecuador’s borders with Peru and Colombia have been profiting from thriving demand for balsa wood.

BRAZIL / 26 JUL 2022

Indigenous communities in Brazil are using drones to fight deforestation and the frequent assaults of loggers on their lands.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…