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Ecuador: a new Minister of Defense in the midst of a prison crisis

2021-10-18T23:52:04.664Z

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso appointed retired General Luis Hernandez as Minister of Defense on Monday, October 18, in a ...



Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso appointed retired General Luis Hernandez as Minister of Defense on Monday, October 18, amid a prison crisis.

Read alsoEcuador adopts a liberal turn under the watchful eye of the IMF

"This appointment is the recognition of a prestigious officer of the armed forces"

, declared the president during the investiture of the new minister.

“Ecuador is going through a period of insecurity,”

added Guillermo Lasso.

“National sovereignty is threatened by drug trafficking, human trafficking and illegal migration

,” he said.

Luis Hernandez, who replaces former naval commander Fernando Donoso, said

"the threats are here, inside"

the country, in turn referring to crime and drug trafficking.

This appointment comes in the midst of a prison crisis and on the eve of a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss, in particular, cooperation in the field of security and defense.

Read also Ecuador: 116 detainees killed in violence in a prison

At the end of September, a prison in southwest Colombia was the scene of the massacre of 119 inmates, some of whom had been dismembered or burned, in violent clashes between rival gangs linked to drug trafficking and Mexican cartels. According to official figures, at least 238 prisoners have been killed since early 2021 in Ecuadorian prisons, overcrowded and subjected to recurrent violence for years.

After the last massacre, President Lasso proclaimed

a 60-day

“state of emergency”

in the country's 65 prisons, including the deployment of significant military reinforcements.

Between January and August 2021, 1,427 intentional homicides were recorded in the country, or 55 more murders than those reported in the whole of 2020, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-18

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