The dark side of Ecuador, under the control of the Sinaloa cartel between conspiracies and rival local gangs and Albanian clans

2023-08-15 13:21:56Fokus SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
The dark side of Ecuador

Guido Olimpio*

I waited. Possible Collusive Agreements. External links. Drugs. Mobilization of the army, because the police are insufficient.

We are not talking about the dark side of Mexico, but about Ecuador, which marches into presidential elections (on August 20) at the height of a wave of crime, murders and kidnappings.

The assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio is the symbol of the "perfect" storm, fueled by bad winds and sometimes disguised.

An attack that took place in an aggravated context, where local criminals collaborate with large international networks.

An alliance that has transformed the country from a transit point, to a starting point for cocaine, hidden in containers full of bananas destined for Europe, to a narco-submarine that sails on the way to Central America, to airplane traffic.

Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed last Wednesday after a political rally

Rough estimates believe that around 800 tons of cocaine are trafficked each year. But they are unverifiable figures, like the Mexican ones.

Murders rose from 1,088 in 2019 to 4,761 last year, while more than 400 inmates lost their lives due to clashes between rival gangs in the prison.

The victim, Villavicencio, launched his campaign against the corrupt and had revealed, just a month earlier, that he had received direct threats from the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel, which is run by the sons of El Chapo Guzman in competition with other bosses .

The organization has operated in Ecuador since the early 2000s, with its own people and through an operational pact with Los Cochoneros.

However, this faction has had some internal problems and one of its historical leaders, Junior Roldan, was assassinated in Colombia in May.

He led the wing known as Los Aguilas, while the rest of the gang, Los Fatales, answered to the orders of José Adolfo Villamar, known as "Fito", a notorious long-imprisoned gangster who allegedly his death list political exponent shot dead in Quito.

To confuse the leaders - another similarity to the Mexican slaughterhouse - a video of the Los Lobos group appeared: a phalanx of masked men claimed responsibility for the attack.

However, a propaganda outing denied by the "official" leaders overthrew the suspected alibi. It's a common weave, a jungle to hide in, perhaps a misdirection into already murky waters.

Los Lobos represent a black gangrene, moving alongside the Jalisco cartel, Sinaloa's rival, and, according to experts, growing.

Tiguorones and Chones also move in the same orbit. Frequent battles that could possibly take a break.

"Fito", sentenced to 34 years in prison for murder and drug trafficking, a few days ago communicated from his cell the signing of the truce with the rivals of Los Lobos. With a special one: The Godfather, during his prison sentence, became a lawyer!

However, these are not the only protagonists. Here, in the center of a fierce war, exponents of the foreign world of crime operate, including several Albanian clans, who cooperate according to interests, and are directly involved in the war between local gangs.

This is also a consequence of Ecuador's strategic role in exports of white powder.

A thread, which leads inevitably to Colombia, the great producer of cocaine, where a year ago the Ecuadorian judge Marcelo Pecci was killed, shot on the beach while on his honeymoon.

The lightning-quick investigation into Villavicencio's death - again in Mexican style, when they want to offer those responsible - led to the capture of the commando made up of suspected Colombians and the killing of the killer.

Known persons who were arrested and released. Are they the real culprits? Did the order come from Sinaloa?

There is a lot of "fog" around the host. The presidential candidate was not in an armored car and the escort was caught by surprise, despite the existence of constant warnings.

While waiting for developments, it remains to be seen whether the US FBI will seriously enter the investigation, given that the Ecuadorian government has requested Washington's help. An important help is needed, but also for an independent eye, safe from infiltrations.

The drama of Villavicencio, recalls the end of Luis Donaldo Colosio. He aspired to be president, had gone up against the "dinosaurs" of the PRI party, waved a message of war on crime and "clean hands" and was arrested. It was March 23, 1994. In Tijuana, Mexico.

* Corriere della Sera