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Smart Take | State of Emergency Continues in Ecuador

January 18, 20242:12

Yesterday, the prosecutor investigating the recent armed takeover of a TV studio in Ecuador, César Suárez, was shot dead in Guayaquil. It is the latest act of violence in a wave of criminal activity that spurred President Daniel Noboa to declare a State of Emergency in Ecuador. Former President of Colombia, Iván Duque Màrquez, comments on Noboa's response to the crises. He talks about criminal cooperation across Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico, structural changes necessary to combat organized crime, and the importance of strengthening judicial systems across Latin America. 

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  • It is a reality that for the years of silent growth  the cartels had in Ecuador. It cannot be just faced by the police. It requires to have the military side by side with the police. And I think the decision that President Noboa has made on this, on his emergency decrees, is not only assertive, but necessary.

    The fact that you don't have in Ecuador, the army and the police in the same ministry creates such a level of asymmetries of information that only weakens the way the state has to face the cartels. Colombia learned this a long time ago, and what has allowed the Colombian military and Police  to be so strong against narco traffickers is not only that they are inside the same ministry, but there is a very strong level of cooperation and a great level of competence.

    When Colombia lowers the standard of the way it chases the cartels, that also creates for the cartels a better situation to operate in other countries or to create linkages with other criminal organizations  in other countries.

    So definitely there's this silent growth that took place in Ecuador for too many years plus now we see a lowering of the standards in which Colombia chases the cartels. And it obviously creates the condition to have these kinds of turmoil. 

    So we have to see this at a local level, but we also have to see this at a multinational level. And that's why this threat is so big, because the cartels that we have in Colombia are connected with the criminal groups in Colombia, are connected with the Mexican cartels. And also the Colombian cartels want to have operations in Ecuador. And they want to keep on expanding the business in South America.

    So we have to face this at a national level. But we also need to strengthen all the judicial systems and all the cooperation between the military and the police inside the countries of South America and Latin America.


Ivan Duque Marquez, Former President of the Republic of Colombia

Iván Duque Márquez

Chair and Distinguished Fellow, Iván Duque Center for Prosperity and Freedom;
President of the Republic of Colombia (2018-2022)
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