Ecuador’s security crisis warrants US assistance

Ecuador's security crisis warrants US assistance

Ecuador is experiencing a rapid rise in homicide rates. A failure to stem, and eventually reverse, insecurity could undermine the popularity of Ecuador’s new government, which is staunchly pro-U.S. and continues to repair Ecuador’s democracy after the autocratic rule of long-time President Rafael Correa vitiated institutions and undermined rule-of-law.

In a region beset by democratic backsliding, the U.S. should work with Ecuador to improve security in a country that represents one of the few feel-good stories.

From January to October 2021, Ecuador already registered 500 more homicides than in all of 2020. Thus far in 2021, nearly 300 people have died in gruesome prison violence. The port city of Guayaquil has been rocked by a spate of grisly prison insurrections, heralding the intensified rivalry of transnational criminal organizations.

In late September, inmates linked to Mexican and Colombian criminal groups initiated one of the deadliest prison massacres in Latin America’s history — resulting in the deaths of over 100 inmates. The macabre situation repeated itself in November.

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