Home Headlines Are Mexican cartels contributing to the escalating violence in Ecuador?

Are Mexican cartels contributing to the escalating violence in Ecuador?

by Yucatan Times
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Recent reports have linked Mexican cartels to the escalating violence in Ecuador. The South American nation, a strategic hub between the two major coca leaf producers, Colombia and Peru, has become a logistical platform for large transnational criminal organizations over the past 15 years. Among these, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) stand out.

The assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, a candidate for the presidency of Ecuador, has been linked to drug cartels. Villavicencio had consistently spoken of threats and intimidation against himself and his team by Los Choneros, an alleged ally of the Sinaloa Cartel in Ecuador. However, the involvement of another group, Los Lobos, a splinter group of Los Choneros, has complicated the situation.

The question of whether Los Lobos were responsible has led to speculation about the group’s international relations, specifically their alleged links to Mexico’s emerging brand of organized crime, the CJNG, a rival of the Sinaloa Cartel. This presence in the equation requires an understanding of their role in the dynamics of Ecuadorian organized crime.

The Mexican cartels have reportedly exported their drug war south and are quickly turning Ecuador into a war zone. They are battling for dominance over the transport of cocaine from the vast, green coca fields of Colombia, through Ecuador to the United States and Europe.

Ecuador has long been known as one of the most peaceful countries in Latin America, but its soaring murder rate is comparable to Medellin, Colombia during the reign of Pablo Escobar. Gang members are being sent to cartel-financed training camps in northern Ecuador to learn how to kill.

This alarming situation has led President Guillermo Lasso to issue a decree ending a 12-year-old ban on civilians owning firearms, which he said would further the goal of defeating “delinquency, drug trafficking, and organized crime”². The involvement of Mexican cartels in the recent Ecuador conflict is a rising concern that demands immediate attention and action.


The Yucatan Times Newsroom

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