A Surge in Crime and Violence Has Ecuador Reeling

A Surge in Crime and Violence Has Ecuador Reeling
Security forces block protesters from marching to the presidential palace in Quito, Ecuador, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

QUITO, Ecuador—Ecuador might be caught up in a political crisis, with President Guillermo Lasso having dissolved the opposition-led National Assembly and called snap presidential and legislative elections for later this year. But if you ask most Ecuadorians what they are worried about, they won’t tell you politics.

They will say crime and public authorities’ inability, or unwillingness, to stop it.

Spend a few days in any major Ecuadorian city, and it won’t take long to understand why. In the port cities of Guayaquil and Esmeraldas, where the violence is most intense, massacres, targeted assassinations of police and public officials, and car bombs have become weekly occurrences.

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