The president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, described as acts of “barbarism” and “extermination” the violence that this Tuesday left more than 70 dead in four prisons in the country, and attributed the events to confrontations between criminal gangs that compete for control of the drug business while the government increases its actions against drug trafficking.
“My, my coincidences! What happened yesterday is not accidental; It was organized from outside the prisons and internally orchestrated by those who dispute the leadership and drug trafficking throughout the national territory, ”Moreno said in a televised message to the country.
In addition, the president stressed that the drug seizure operations that the government has deployed have left unpublished figures in the last period. “It is no coincidence that this happens after the dozens of cocaine laboratories that we have dismantled in Manabí, nor is the seizure of 128 tons of drugs in 2020 a coincidence, a record number in the history of the country,” he said.
The Ecuadorian president insisted that Tuesday “was a tragic day for the country” when a wave of “simultaneous violence” was unleashed.
Video shows police raid into Ecuador jail
Remarks to the ELN
Lenín Moreno said that the violence in the prisons coincides with a recent investigation coordinated by the Ecuadorian and Colombian prosecutor’s offices on an alleged financing of an electoral campaign by the guerrillas of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) to the correist movement Unión por la Esperanza that its presidential candidate is Andrés Arauz.
“The coincidence with the recent denunciation by the Colombian press about the supposed financing of the ELN to political campaigns in Ecuador is not a coincidence, it is very serious that there is money from drug trafficking in the political scene of the country,” said Moreno.
Days before the first electoral round on February 7, former President Rafael Correa, who is promoting Arauz’s candidacy, rejected these accusations, claiming that they are unfounded. Arauz considered that complaint a “false accusation” and part of a “dirty campaign” against him.
Pamphlets under investigation
The television channels RTS and TC Televisión of Ecuador reported this Wednesday that leaflets were thrown at their facilities in which, presumably, threats were being made to authorities and people inside the prisons.
The Attorney General’s Office told Citizen Free Press that it is aware of these pamphlets sent to both media and that there is currently no certainty of the group to which they belong and that it is an issue that is being approached with deep responsibility so as not to generate panic.
More resources against problems
President Lenín Moreno also announced that he ordered the Ministry of Finance to provide more funds to the prison system, which suffers from problems of overcrowding, lack of human resources and a deficient model of legal regulations that, together, have made the prison system unsustainable .
The president assured that of the 9,000 people deprived of liberty that existed in 2007, now there are about 40,000 prisoners. “International logic says that small centers must be built for greater control, but here mega prisons were built for 15,000 people each, where control is easily dispersed.”
The UN office in Ecuador called in a statement for a prompt and impartial investigation and the corresponding punishment for those responsible for the bloody riots on Tuesday. He called for addressing the “structural causes” of the situation.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regretted the events recorded in the four prisons in Ecuador and recalled the duty of the State to guarantee the right to life of the prison system personnel. Like the UN, it joined the call for a diligent investigation and to adopt measures of non-repetition of these events.
The Ecuador Prosecutor’s Office collects evidence, indications and testimonies that allow the investigation to advance.
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