Oh Ecuador A state of emergency was declared this Wednesday (29) for the prison system, which is in crisis due to overcrowding and violence among drug gangs, following the riots in which more than 100 inmates were killed and 52 injured.
Tuesday’s riot at a prison in the southwestern port of Guayaquil turned into the bloodiest of the year, with the deaths of about 120 inmates already recorded.
In February, simultaneous riots broke out in four prisons in three Ecuadorian cities, killing 79 inmates, many of whom were beheaded.
The death toll from the Ecuadorian uprising has risen to 116, the president says
“I declare an exceptional status throughout the prison system nationally,” President Guillermo Lasso said on Twitter, adding that he would chair a security committee in Guayaquil that would “guarantee the human rights of all concerned to control the emergency.”
The exception level allows the executive branch to suspend rights and restore normalcy using public power.
In the most recent official balance, the government agency in charge of prisons (SNAI) noted that “more than 100 #PPL (Indigenous people) have died and 52 have been injured”.
Through Twitter, the organization added that the police and the public ministry were “constantly collecting information.”
Relatives of prisoners chat with a soldier while waiting for news outside a prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Wednesday (29) – Photo: Fernando Mendes / AFP
“I don’t know anything about my son”
The presence of soldiers outside the Quas 1 prison was part of a larger prison complex, which was fortified by a gunfire.
Police officers on horseback were also guarded outside, where dozens of people asked for information about the condition of relatives in their prison.
“We need information because we know nothing about our families, our children, because I have my son here, I know nothing about my son,” one woman did not reveal her identity.
The penal crisis, triggered by the people’s crisis, corruption, insufficient policing and violence, has led authorities to declare an emergency system since 2019. The military has been supporting the external control of prisons for months.
The Ministry of Public Works also pointed out that two police officers were among the injured. It beheaded several prisoners.
In Guayaquil, Police Commander General Fosto Bueno declared that “the most violent deaths were prevented” by police intervention. The rebels, who even had a gun, “attacked us with long arms and short arms,” he said.
More than 200 dead prisoners
The U.S.-US Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has again condemned violence in Ecuadorian prisons following Tuesday’s bloody uprising.
“By 2021, more than 200 people will be killed as a result of violence in prisons. Remember that states must abide by laws that guarantee the right to life, personal integrity and the protection of those in their care.” .
The prison crisis in Ecuador has been exacerbated by clashes between criminal organizations linked to the Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco Nova Gerno cartels.
Police loaded outside jail in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Wednesday (29) – Photo: Fernando Mendes / AFP
In Ecuador, with a population of 17.7 million, violence has become permanent in its 65 prisons, which house 39,000 inmates with a capacity of about 30,000.
According to the Office of Public Safety, there were 103 murders in the country’s prisons in 2020, where corruption allows weapons and ammunition to enter.
One-third of those arrested were “from criminal organizations linked to international drug trafficking,” security and drug trafficking expert Fernando Carian told AFP.
Police say two gangs supporting Mexican cartels have about 20,000 members.
Between January and August 2021, Ecuador seized about 116 tons of drugs, mainly cocaine. By 2020, the amount seized is 128 tons for the year as a whole.
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