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Ecuador

CrisisWatch Ecuador

Unchanged Situation

Deadliest prison riots in country’s history broke out between rival gang members, while post-electoral tensions emerged. Violence overnight 22-23 Feb erupted between rival gangs in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Latacunga prisons, leaving 79 inmates dead and a dozen injured; riots reportedly part of gangs’ battle for leadership within prison system since killing of most powerful gang’s leader Jorge Luis Zambrano in Dec 2020. In response, authorities 23 Feb deployed hundreds of police officers and military personnel inside prison system and in following days reportedly regained control of all three facilities. President Moreno 24 Feb said violence was “orchestrated by those who are in dispute over leadership and drug trafficking across our national territory”, acknowledged prison overcrowding and announced that govt would seek international help to combat organised crime. Meanwhile, tensions mounted following 7 Feb presidential election. Preliminary results next day showed left-wing candidate Andrés Arauz, protégé of former socialist President Rafael Correa, leading with 32.7% of vote, but conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso and environmentalist indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez neck and neck in race for second round. National Electoral Council 16 Feb said it would not conduct partial recount of votes requested 12 Feb by both candidates; 21 Feb confirmed Arauz and Lasso will contest run-off vote scheduled for 11 April. Hundreds of indigenous protesters 23 Feb converged on capital Quito in support of Pérez and to demand recount.
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Ecuador: Overcoming Instability?

Ecuador: Overcoming Instability?

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Ecuador: Overcoming Instability?

Ecuador has been Latin America’s most unstable democracy for a decade. Starting with the ousting of President Abdalá Bucaram by Congress and street protests in 1997, weak, temporary governments have been the rule.

Also available in Español, Français