Ecuador is the Latin American country where violent deaths grew the most
2022 figures indicated an increase of more than 80% over the previous year
According to the Ecuadorian government, the increase in violence is due to the actions of law enforcement in the fight against drug trafficking. (REUTERS/Santiago Arcos)
2022 will be remembered as the year in which Ecuadorit had its worst record for criminal violence. Official figures indicate that the Andean country is the Latin American nation with the greatest increase in this type of violence. Like Ecuador, data on criminal violence also increased in nine countries.
In Ecuador, 2022 closed with 4,603 violent deaths, equivalent to 25 cases per 100,000 population. In 2021, the rate of violent deaths was 13.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. The percentage increase was 82.5%, according to Primicias, which analyzed the record of violent deaths in Latin America.
In 2023, the situation of Ecuador has not improved since in the first 10 days of January there were 16 murders per day.
According to the figures for 2022, Jamaica is the country most violent in Latin America with a rate of 50.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras and Venezuela.
Violent deaths, in the hit-and-run style, are becoming more frequent, especially in Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón.
According to the available data, Ecuador could occupy the fifth position in the list, although the rate of Belize has yet to be confirmed, according to Primicias.
Contrary to Ecuador's large increase in the rate of violent deaths, El Salvador managed to reduce this rate by 56%. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele 's policy to reduce violence has been questioned for the violation of human rights. Mexico also showed a 6% reduction in the rate of violent deaths.
In Ecuador, the increase in criminal violence, reflected in violent deaths, would be the response of organized crime groups to the actions of the security forces that seek to contain the penetration of drug trafficking in the country, according to the government version.
According to data from the National Police, collected by Primicias, in 2022, the police authorities seized < b>201.4 tons of drugs. Although this amount does not exceed the 2021 seizures, it does register as the second highest rate in national history.
The Ecuadorian Police have prevented hundreds of millions of doses from entering the international market. (Ecuador Police)
Ecuador has become a key country for the shipment of drugs, especially cocaine, to Europe and the United States. The nation's location is key as it is located between the two largest drug producers in the world: Colombia and Peru.
Colombia is one of the largest coca producers in the world. 66% of illegal coca crops in Latin America are in that country, which owns 154,475 hectares of illicit crops. Peru, which is on the southern border of Ecuador, is the second largest producer in the region, with 23% of the crops, equivalent to 54,655 hectares.
According to official information from the Ecuadorian government to which Infobae accessed, an average hectare of coca has 10,000-12,000 plants and represents at least 4.2 harvests per year. One hectare of these crops produces 5.8 metric tons of coca leaf annually, which can translate to 6.7 kg of cocaine hydrochloride per year.
Aerial view of a coca field in Colombia, the most important producer of cocaine in the world. (REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/FILE)
In order to determine strategies to face the threats of the Colombian-Ecuadorian border, the highest military representatives of the Armed Forces of those two countries held a bilateral working meeting at the end of December and signed a Act of commitments for the tactical and operational implementation of the Border Protection Plan. The objective is to promote actions to neutralize the transnational crime groups that operate in the border area.
The main threats are the actions of drug trafficking and organized crime on the common border, according to reported the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Ecuador. For the military institution, the different dynamics used by drug trafficking and its related crimes have an impact on the security of the region, so “it will be necessary for the agreements reached in this meeting to be translated into plans and orders that allow minimize these transnational threats.”