The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, said yesterday that the country had reduced levels of violence thanks to law enforcement operations focused on coastal provinces plagued by criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking.
“I know it is not enough, but we are making progress; we are achieving it: defeating crime day by day,” said Lasso at a graduation ceremony for 960 police officers who will join the institution’s ranks.
Lasso indicated that the joint operations carried out by the Police and the Armed Forces in the most conflictive areas of the country are bearing fruit, especially in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, and Santa Elena, all located in the Coastal region.
“In the province of Esmeraldas (bordering Colombia), we have managed to significantly reduce the levels of violence, crime, and violent deaths, as well as in the canton of Durán (in Guayas), and in general, throughout the country,” he said.
He detailed that, in the last days, thanks to tactical and intelligence work, 200 members of organized crime groups have been arrested, and firearms, explosives, ammunition, and drugs have been seized.
Likewise, he reiterated his support for the public force after highlighting that regulation for the legitimate use of force is in force, “which grants more legal guarantees so that the military and police can fight with more forcefulness against the criminal networks that are stalking us”.
“In the face of lethal actions, the response must be with lethal weapons. Their weapons will be used against criminals, against terrorists, against those who want to steal the peace and tranquility of the Ecuadorian family,” he said.
The President added that it is not easy to be a policeman in these times in Ecuador, for which he congratulated the incorporation of new uniformed officers to the Police, which by the end of June will have around 65,000 members.
He recalled that, at the beginning of his Government in May 2021, he received a Police Force with 52,000 members, a figure that has been gradually increasing, as part of his offer to incorporate 30,000 new members until 2025.
“I hope that in December, with a new Government, this will continue and not be interrupted because we must strengthen the Police”, said Lasso, whose mandate will be shortened after last May 17 he decreed the constitutional figure of “cross death” with which he dissolved the National Assembly and called for early general elections, to be held next August 20.
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