In the very colorful city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, a dark attack left 16 injured and five people dead on Sunday.
The government currently attributes it to organized crime.
“Organized crime mercenaries (…) are attacking us today with explosives.
(…) It is a declaration of war against the state”, tweeted the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo.
The explosion, whose precise circumstances have not yet been established by the police, also caused the destruction of eight houses and two cars, according to the emergency services (SNGR).
"Either we are able to unite to confront (organized crime), or the price to pay will be even higher for society," warned Patricio Carrillo.
A fragile country
A once pacified neighbor of Colombia and Peru, the two largest cocaine producers in the world, Ecuador is today a center for the shipment of white powder to Europe and the United States and a place of territorial dispute. between multiple gangs, according to authorities and analysts.
Mexican cartels, keen to manage all business activity, from production to shipping, have found in Ecuador a dollarized economy where they can launder their illicit earnings and authorities unprepared to deal with gangs and quickly. overwhelmed by the economy of corruption.
The country, which for years was just a place of transit, has become a "sanctuary for organized crime", former head of military intelligence Mario Pazmiño recently declared.
On the podium of the largest cocaine seizures
According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ecuador, with a population of 18 million, is the third country in the world where in 2020 the largest drug seizures were made. cocaine, after Colombia and the United States, or 6.5% of the 1,424 tons seized worldwide Between 2021 and today, more than 300 tons of cocaine have been confiscated, said Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo.
But seizures, which reached an annual record of 210 tonnes in 2021, represent less than 30% of what actually circulates in ports and airports.
This lucrative traffic leads to many lusts and violent settling of scores that the authorities are struggling to control.
The homicide rate has increased from 6 to 14 per 100,000 inhabitants between 2018 and today, according to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior.
The clashes between gangs have also spread to prisons and have killed more than 350 prisoners since February 2021.
Ecuador: More than two tons of cocaine destined for Belgium seized
Drug trafficking: Forty people arrested in six countries in a vast operation