President of Ecuador laments the tragedy in prisons and blames the previous government for building them with large spaces

For President Lenín Moreno, the events recorded in four prisons in the country is not a coincidence, but a consequence of the criminal violence that was organized from outside the penitentiary centers for those who dispute the leadership and drug trafficking throughout the territory national.

For Moreno this «barbarism» as he described it is not a coincidence because it would occur at a time of pandemic in which the country is also facing an economic crisis and an ongoing electoral process.

The president blamed the massacre on overcrowding because, given the excess of prisoners, it is difficult to execute an adequate social rehabilitation plan.

He said that in 2007 (Rafael Correa’s government) there were 9 thousand people deprived of liberty and that in his government there are 40 thousand. Although he pointed out that this result is a sign of the frontal fight against crime, he acknowledged that the fact that the prisons are overcrowded made the system unsustainable.

At this point he commented that the international logic is to build reduced detention centers, in order to have greater control, but that (referring to the previous Government) prisons were built with a capacity for 15 thousand people.

To this he added that both the model and the legal regulations in prison matters are deficient and that there is a prison overcrowding that is around 30%.

He insisted that yesterday’s tragedy is not accidental and even in his speech he recalled the withdrawal from the Manta Base in 2008.

Although he highlighted the work of his Government in the face of the seizure of 128 tons of drugs in 2020 and the dismantling of drug laboratories in Manabí, he specified that yesterday’s violence is a response to the actions taken, so it is an investigation is underway.

President Moreno also alluded to the complaint by the Colombian press about the alleged financing of the National Liberation Army (ELN) of political campaigns in Ecuador. He pointed out that it is serious that there is money from drug trafficking in the political scene of the country.

He noted that the situation in the prison system is complicated and acknowledged that there is a lack of financial and personal resources.

With this background, he announced that he has ordered the Ministry of Economy and Finance to allocate the necessary budget for this sector.

Among the actions taken, he said that the unified command post has been activated, in order to declare zones of maximum alert to prisons so that control is restored inside.

The head of state ordered the Armed Forces to support arms control outside the prisons 24 hours a day and as long as necessary.

In turn, he said that the ministers of state, within the scope of their powers, should restructure the prison security policy.

He also announced that tomorrow he plans to request international support to combat organized crime at the meeting of the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur).

“There are dark forces that threaten our coexistence and that cannot be allowed. The Government will continue to fight drug trafficking until the last day, but social and political actors must act from their spheres of action. We must all close ranks against the mafias and criminal violence, ”he emphasized.

He lamented the deaths of the inmates and expressed solidarity with their families, but clarified that they acted with professionalism because not a single bullet came out from the police personnel.

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