Ecuador’s president applauds apparent approval of extradition and anti-gang measures – Firstpost

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa. AP file

The extradition of mafia bosses to US prisons and other tough measures against gangs were overwhelmingly supported by Ecuadorians, an early exit poll taken on Sunday showed. President Daniel Noboa welcomed the result, saying it gave him “more tools to fight crime.”

Attackers on the coast of Ecuador shot dead a prison guard, causing more carnage.

According to the company Infinity Estrategas, which made the results of the exit polls available on social network

“We defended the country, now we will have more tools to fight crime and restore peace to Ecuadorian families,” Noboa said after the release of the exit poll.

Ecuador would become the third country after Mexico and Colombia to allow extradition, as the two countries have sent several alleged criminal bosses to face prosecution in the United States.

The head of El Rodero prison in the coastal region of Manabi state, Damian Parrales, “was the victim of an attack that unfortunately took his life,” according to a statement from the national prison administration.

Ecuador’s prisons have become deadly battlefields that have claimed the lives of more than 460 prisoners in just three years, and nerve centers for organized criminal gangs.

Five days after being jailed, Parrales was shot and killed in the town of Jipijapa while having lunch with his family, according to local media.

Once peaceful Ecuador is grappling with a shocking increase in violence, which has flared up due to a surge in narcotics trafficking that has left two mayors dead this week.

Nearly 13.6 million of the country’s 17.7 million residents were eligible to cast a “yes” or “no” on eleven referendum questions on the ballot.

Noboa declared a state of “internal armed conflict” in January, blaming about 20 criminal groups for a wave of violence sparked by the jailbreak of a major drug lord who was still on the run.

Gangsters kidnapped dozens of people, including police and prison guards, and opened fire in a TV studio during a live broadcast, part of a days-long wave of violence that left about 20 dead.

Despite the deployment of soldiers to combat gangs, violence continues. Two mayors have been murdered in the past week, that’s five in a year and three in less than a month.

At least a dozen politicians have been killed in Ecuador since January last year, including presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was shot after a campaign event last August.

In Sunday’s vote, Noboa sought popular support for his plans to crack down even harder on those responsible for such acts.

Citizens were asked to approve an expansion of the powers of the military and police, which would significantly strengthen gun control and impose tougher penalties for “terrorism” and drug trafficking.

Noboa also proposes to amend the constitution to allow Ecuadorians wanted abroad for crimes related to organized crime to be extradited.

Unsafe feeling

Last year, the country’s murder rate rose to a record 43 per 100,000 residents – up from just six in 2018, according to official data.

In a release Friday, polling firm Gallup said no other region in the world, excluding active war zones, felt less safe for residents in 2023 than Ecuador’s Guayas province.

The vote comes the same week that Ecuadorians suffered power outages lasting up to 13 hours as the drought left key hydroelectric reservoirs nearly empty.

The government ordered workers to stay home for two days in an effort to conserve scarce energy resources.

Noboa has placed some of the blame on “sabotage”, without naming anyone in particular.

Latest news

Find us on YouTube