HomeNewsBriefEcuador Identifies Illegal Crossings on Colombia Border
BRIEF

Ecuador Identifies Illegal Crossings on Colombia Border

ECUADOR / 19 JUL 2012 BY MICHAEL KANE EN

Ecuador's government has reported the existence of 26 unsanctioned border crossings into Colombia, which pose a security problem to both countries, as Ecuador is becoming an increasingly important drug transshipment point for Colombian gangs.

Many of the border crossings that the Defense Ministry identified to Ecuadorean newspaper La Hora are concentrated in the troubled province of Carchi, a known refuge for Colombian rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and in Sucumbios. (See InSight Crime's map of Ecuador's illegal border crossings, below).

When Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos had their first formal meeting in December, the problem of illegal border crossings was high on the agenda. These have been widely tolerated by both governments for years; farmers and business owners in the region contend that because of the lack of formal border crossings, they must use these informal points to move their goods across the border.

However, the crossings present a threat to regional security, as they may also be used to smuggle weapons, drugs, and precursor chemicals between the two countries. According to La Hora, the last time Colombia and Ecuador attempted to shut down several of these illegal border crossings was in 2004.

InSight Crime Analysis

Since Santos improved relations with Ecuador, much of the renewed relationship between the two countries has focused on combating the criminal groups that straddle the border. In the past several years Ecuador has become a major smuggling route for various contraband, and increasing cooperation between the two Andean countries is aimed at curbing that growth.

A 2011 report by International Crisis Group describes this increased collaboration. In June 2011, the two countries initiated an intelligence sharing agreement. Ecuador also passed a tougher refugee law to make it more difficult for Colombians to take advantage of asylum in Ecuador, as some were claiming refugee status in order to orchestrate illegal cross-border activities. Meanwhile, Bogota began funneling more mining, oil, and gas royalties to border provinces, so that these local governments could rely on a bigger budget for security issues.

Other signs of cooperation have revolved around a militarized response. In January, Correa sent 10,000 more troops to the northern border to increase security. In April, he made a rare acknowledgment that the FARC are indeed present in Ecuador, and reaffirmed his government's commitment towards pursuing and capturing them.

The cooperation has had limited results. In November 2011, Ecuador announced a 30 percent increase in cocaine seizures compared to 2010. However, this was still markedly lower than the 2009 seizure rate. It is also unclear whether this increase is because the Ecuadorean security forces are more effective at tracking and seizing drug shipments, or because there is simply more cocaine moving through the country.


View Ecuador-Colombia Border Crossings in a larger map

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.

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 AUG 2012

The capture of a FARC operative who obtained arms for the guerrilla group in Ecuador is the latest sign that…

COCAINE / 22 NOV 2019

Gerald’s rise to becoming one of the most notorious drug traffickers Ecuador has produced to date was meteoric. But his…

ECUADOR / 30 SEP 2021

Ecuador is reeling from its worst-ever prison massacre in Guayaquil but the factors that led to this situation could well…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…