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Johan Klok Avenue MIA two days ago

Public prosecutor murdered in Babahoyo

Public prosecutor Federico Estrella was murdered in Babahoyo on the evening of August 15, 2022. Hitmen shot six bullet at him when he returned home after working at a university. He died in a hospital. Estrella was working on drug related cases as public prosecutor.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA two days ago

Opinions from security specialists from Cuenca about the spike in violence in Ecuador

Today, the newspaper El Mercurio from Cuenca published an article with the header (translated in English) "The acts of violence in the country create fear." For this article, the newspaper interviewed several local security specialists. Below you find the key points from this article.

  • Ecuador is suffering from car bombs, attacks on national security targets, kidnappings, hired assassins, armed robberies, prison massacres, extortions, and attacks with explosives.
  • This violence leaves dozens of dead people every day, creates a feeling of insecurity, and creates a bad image of the country abroad.
  • There is a concern that the violent events that occur on the coast may spread to the province of Azuay.

Patricio Romero, a lawyer and criminology researcher:

  • Turi (a village directly south of Cuenca) is home to one of Ecuador's three largest prisons.
  • Massacres have been reported in this prison.
  • It cannot be ruled out that the violence in the province of Guayas will move to Cuenca.
  • There are already signs that this violence is moving to Cuenca.
  • One sign is that business owners in Cuenca are extorted by threatening them with their lives or the lives of their family members.
  • At the beginning of August, two bodies in plastic bags were found near the Hospital del Río. The bodies belonged to men from Guayaquil and Santo Domingo. The authorities believe that these murders were the result of a dispute over the territory for the sale of drugs in Cuenca.

Walter Villaroel, commander of the National Police in Zone 6 (the administrative zone to which Cuenca and the province of Azuay belong):

  • “I'm sure we're not going to reach that level [the level of crime in Guayaquil]; however, there is criminal influence, we cannot deny that there are events that are taking place in the province of Azuay (...)”
  • In Cuenca, there is a large number of cases of domestic violence and drunkenness which have to be dealt with by the National Police.

Felipe Camacho, a former director of the Cuenca Citizen Security Council (CSC), a former member of the Cuenca Citizen Guard (GCC, municipal police of Cuenca), and a current major in the Cuenca Fire Department:

  • The crime rates have increased in Cuenca and the province of Azuay because of three reasons.
  • Reason 1: "(...) some types of crimes have been imported from other countries since there is a large number of people who enter the country, some even with a criminal record..."
  • Reason 2: home delivery services are misused by criminals to monitor the movement of homeowners to rob them.
  • Reason 3: the creation of the prison in Turi has led to the arrival of criminals who are related to those who are imprisoned.

Renan Velasco, a former colonel of the National Police and a former director of the Antinarcotics Headquarters in Azuay:

  • Bad political decisions in especially the last 10 years have dismantled the institutionality of the National Police and other organizations responsible for combating insecurity.
  • The nearly 50 neighborhood brigades in Cuenca have stopped working in cooperation with the National Police as they did initially.
  • The current criminal legislation is "proreo", that is, it benefits criminals and condemns police officers under arguments such as deficiencies in police procedures.
  • The selection of personnel for the National Police should be improved to prevent bad elements from entering the organization.

William Cobo, a former colonel of the Armed Forces (FF.AA) and a former commander of the Cuenca Citizen Guard (GCC, municipal police of Cuenca):

  • Although the National Government is responsible for security, the municipalities should also help to combat insecurity in their jurisdictions.
  • In the case of Cuenca, the Cuenca Citizen Guard should help the National Police in dealing with cases of drunkenness, so that the National Police can work exclusively on security issues.
  • It's necessary to control the street sales and the disorder that exists in Cuenca because this also affects the safety of citizens.
  • It's not appropriate for the Municipality of Cuenca to seek to take charge of the Turi prison because the municipality doesn't have the operational and strategic security capacity to deal with this prison.
  • In the Turi prison, intelligence and strategic operations need to be applied because the prison has already been taken over by international criminal organizations.

Johan Klok Avenue MIA two days ago

What would be the price for a gas cylinder in Ecuador without subsidy?

LP gas is subsidied in Ecuador. The current price for a 15 kg LP gas cylinder is $1.60. The price without subsidy would be $7.36 at this moment.

Source: Vistazo, edition 1319, July 21, 2022.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA two days ago

What would the fuel prices in Ecuador be without subsidies?

Subsidies on fuel prices are one of the most important political topics in Ecuador. Below you can read the current price and what the price would be without subsidy (per gallon):

Diesel
Current price: $1.75; price without subsidy: $4.24

Gasoline Extra
Current price: $2.40; price without subsidy: $3.82

Gasoline Extra with ethanol
Current price: $2.40; price without subsidy: $4.33

Source: Vistazo, edition 1319, July 21, 2022.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA two days ago

Ecuador's murder rate per August 15, 2022: 23 (after extrapolation)

From Azuayo

There have been 2,571 violent deaths recorded in Ecuador between January 1 and 05:00 on August 15. In administrative zone 8, made up of Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón, cantons of the province of Guayas, there have 866 violent deaths been recorded.

This means that, so far this year, on average, a dozen people are murdered every day in Ecuador, which is equivalent to one case every two hours. Compared to 2021, taking the same period as a reference, there is an increase of 53.8% in violent deaths in Ecuador: 1,385 more, according to official figures, to which Diario EXPRESO had access. In zone 8, the increase is 57.1%, with 495 more deaths.

Calculation of the murder rate

(277 days / 366 days) * (2571 murders) / (18 million habitants / 100.000 ) = 23 murders per 100.000 habitants

USA statistics (as comparison)

See the picture below.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA three days ago

Marc Anthony's concerts in Ecuador are postponed due to security concerns

The concerts which Marc Anthony had planned for August 2022 in Ecuador (Quito and Guayaquil) are postponed. This was announced through a statement released this Monday, August 15 by the organizers of the event.

The concerts are postponed because of security concerns in Ecuador. As reasons are mentioned the new state of emergency in Guayaquil and the recent acts of violence in Ecuador.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA August 14, 2022

Expats have become victims of a home invasion in Cuenca

In the Facebook group Cuenca Expats, an expat reported that she and her daughter have become victims of a home invasion in the Puertas del Sol neighborhood in Cuenca.

One of the invaders was her maintenance guy John Gonzales. She had recommended this maintenance guy to several other expats before. She opened the gate for this man because she trusted him. She and her daughter were threatened with guns and tied up by three invaders. The three invaders robbed everything of value that they could find and stole her car for transportation. The picture shows the only criminal who was caught after he crashed the car. He is not the maintenance guy.

This is at least the third home invasion in the Puertas del Sol neighborhood until now this year. For the first home invasion a large group of criminals first overpowered the three security guards of a small gated community.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA August 14, 2022

An attack with explosives leaves 5 people dead and 16 injured in Guayaquil

This Sunday morning, August 14, 2022, there was an attack with explosives on a home in the Cristo del Consuelo sector in Guayaquil. Five people didn't survive the attack that took place with a large explosion. Sixteen people are injured. The explosion was so powerful that three houses were severely damaged. Several cars were also severly damaged. The streets in the neighborhood were flooded with dust, earth and cement fragments from the explosion.

On social media, the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, attributed this attack to members of drug gangs and said that the attack is a declaration of war against the state of Ecuador. A large number of soldiers have been dispatched throughout the sector to initiate the corresponding investigations.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA five days ago

Businessmen are being extorted in Cuenca

Newspaper El Mercurio reports about four cases of extorsion in the province of Azuay. Two of these extorsions took place in the canton of Cuenca. In all cases, owners of small businesses were the victims. Only one victim has filed a formal report.

Of those affected, two people are from Cuenca and the remaining two people are from other cantons. They are all small business owners. Only one of them has decided to legally formalize a complaint. Because this business owner fears reprisals, he has left Ecuador for the United States.

Video on social media

Crónica Cuenca has published a video on its Facebook Page, which shows how three people kidnap a business owner in Cuenca. According to Crónica Cuenca, this kidnapping happened on the morning of July 15, 2022. The victim is the owner of a business. The kidnappers demanded money before releasing him. The amount of money that the kidnappers demanded hasn't been disclosed. This case is still under investigation by the police.

Criminals see opportunities

According to Carlos River, a former National Police sergeant, the number of extorsion cases has grown in Ecuador in the last two years. Extortions occur especially in coastal and border cities where drug gangs are active. Other criminals now see an opportunity and use the names of these gangs to extort their own victims.

An example

Andrés T. is a lawyer who represents a victim. Unknown persons demanded payment of more than USD 15,000 from his client "to take care of her business." The unknown persons identified themselves as member of a gang. They first contacted their victim by phone but later they visited their victim to tell her that she must start to pay.

The local authorities

Gustavo Toledo, who is head of the General Police Intendance of Azuay, confirms that for about four months now there have been cases of extortion of business owners in Cuenca. He indicates that intelligence units of the National Police such as the General Intelligence Directorate (DGI) are working to identify the perpetrators of this crime. The police will have a meeting with business owners to tell them about the protocol that they must follow when they become victims of extortion.


Johan Klok Avenue MIA August 11, 2022

Ecuador monkeypox update August 10, 2022

Statistics

  • There are currently 10 cases of monkeypox registered in Ecuador.
  • The first case in Ecuador was detected on July 6, 2022.
  • Most cases have been detected in the provinces of Guayas and Pichincha. Santa Elena, Los Ríos and Azuay each have one dected case.
  • One person died on August 8, 2022, as a result of a pre-existing pathology.
  • The infected people remain isolated in their homes under medical control for at least 21 days.
  • Relatives living with infected people are also isolated in their homes.
  • Infected people are treated with creams that prevent deep damage cause by strong itching.
  • The National Institute of Public Health Research (INSPI) can determine whether a person is infected with the monkeypox virus.
  • 2,000 tests are available.

Symptoms of monkeypox

The most common symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, lack of energy, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms are followed or accompanied by a rash that can last two to three weeks. The rash can be located on the face, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, the eyes, the mouth, the neck, the groin, and the genital or anal regions of the body.

See also Signs and Symptoms (CDC website).

Recommendations when you think that you are infected with monkeypox

  • Visit a local health center of the Ministry of Public Health (MSP).
  • Apply self-isolating.
  • Don't do self-medicating.
  • Wear a mask and wash your hands.
  • Avoid physical contact with other people. (Monkeypox is spread from person to person through direct contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash, particularly through face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, or mouth-to-skin contact, including sexual contact.)
  • Be even more careful when you suffer from serious diseases like cancer and diabetes.