People & Power

Ecuador: Under Fire

People & Power investigates the causes of Ecuador’s deepening violence.

Ecuador is currently experiencing an unprecedented wave of unrest. The dramatic takeover of a public TV station by masked gunmen and prison riots in January 2024 shocked a country already struggling with historically high crime and murder rates. The violence during the last election campaign, including the killing of a presidential candidate, made headlines around the world. Following the peace process in Colombia between FARC rebels and the state, and the 2009 departure of the US Drug Enforcement Agency from Ecuador, the presence of criminal and drug trafficking organisations has severely challenged national security. In the last few years, Ecuador has transitioned from being one of the safest countries in Latin America to becoming one of the most dangerous in the world. This situation poses a significant challenge for the new government, which will be transitional due to a growing political crisis that also hangs over the country.