Ecuador on course for most violent year ever 

New figures show a record number of intentional homicides in ‘Zone 8’ of Ecuador, which encompasses the city of Guayaquil and the surrounding towns of Durán and Samborondón.  So far this year, as of March 12, there have been 430 murders in this region alone. If this tendency continues then 2023 will be the most violent year in its history.

There were a total of 14 murders reported between midday on Friday, March 10th, and the next morning – a period of less than 24 hours. Most crimes are linked to fights between local gangs, settling of scores, and robberies.

The number of intentional homicides could reach 2,211 by the end of 2023 if this trend continues, the highest number since record-keeping began. This would represent a marked spike from 2022, during which 1,455 people were murdered.

The rise in crime and violence began after leftist ex-president Rafael Correa left office. During his final year in office, just 194 homicides took place in this region of the country. If this year’s projections come true, it will represent an increase of more than 1000% compared to Correa’s final year as president.

In a recent interview with Nodal, ex-presidential candidate for Correa’s party in 2021, Andres Arauz, explained the consequences of the ongoing economic and societal collapse during the neoliberal period under Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso; 

“The one who will not be able to survive two more years is the Ecuadorian people and the best demonstration of this is the homicide rate in the country, the highest in history, and the migration rate, that is, the rate of departure of Ecuadorians. The exodus of Ecuadorians in 2023 has exceeded the exodus of other sister countries in the region that are facing an economic blockade, financial sanctions, and attacks of all kinds. 

The greater tragedy is in the Darien jungle between Colombia and Panama where Ecuadorians are crossing on foot with the intention to seek an opportunity in the North. We have a chronic recession, an unemployment crisis, a public health crisis. Lasso has instead focused on political persecution, while small businesses are forced to pay extortion money to criminal gangs to avoid being attacked.”

By Kawsachun News

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