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Exclusive: How Biden botched the border Alex Thompson and Stef W. Kight. 2024 2 12. Axios. https://www.axios.com/2024/02/12/how-biden-botched-border Biden faces more criticism about the US-Mexico border, one of his biggest problems heading into 2024 Will Weissert and Adriana Gomez. 2023 10 7. AP.

Cocaine, cartels, and corruption: The crisis in Ecuador, explained

“Ecuador, according to its president Daniel Noboa, is now “in a state of war.” Earlier this week he had announced a state of emergency after the leader of one of the country’s top two gangs escaped from prison. The following day, armed gang members stormed the TC Television news program, broadcasting their hostage-taking and violence live to make an announcement of their own.
It was far from the only act of shocking violence the country has suffered this week.

In what appeared to be a coordinated campaign Tuesday — and one with a brazenness that recalled Mexico’s cartels in the mid-2010s, or worse — armed men stormed hospitals, businesses, and universities. Prisons were taken over in violent riots, bombs were set off in multiple locations, and police and prison guards were kidnapped and murdered. At least 10 people were killed in gang attacks, including police, and over a hundred prison staff were taken hostage.

It may seem like an inexplicable turn for Ecuador, a country that many experts, including Felipe Botero, a program head at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, told Vox used to be an “island of peace” in an often-troubled region.

But this turn to violence in an upper-middle-income country of 18 million didn’t happen overnight.

While there are factors that accelerated a spike in crime over the last couple of years, experts say this is a story nearly a decade in the making. Ecuador’s security crisis is the product of years of growing impunity enjoyed by gangs, the influence of transnational crime groups, shifts in global cocaine consumption, and, above all, increasing institutional corruption.

That means even with President Noboa’s promised military crackdown, this chaos won’t be solved overnight.”


A shocking assassination highlights escalating violence in Ecuador

“Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian presidential candidate who ran heavily on an anti-corruption message, has been assassinated less than two weeks before the nation’s presidential elections. Villavicencio, a centrist candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement, was gunned down after a political rally on Wednesday, a shocking act in a country that’s historically been peaceful until recent years.
His killing underscores a recent surge in drug-related violence in Ecuador, and has prompted new scrutiny of the growing presence of cartels in the region.”