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"Ecuador: a rapid plunge into criminal chaos

At the start of 2024, the pace of events is accelerating in Latin America, a region that has been plagued by hyperviolence for decades, a reminder of the geopolitical impact, and not just the security impact, of criminal organisations when they reach a critical stage of development. The toppling of the Ecuadorian domino, which until recently had been relatively untouched by these phenomena, linked in particular to drug trafficking, and which we see on a daily basis in Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, provides yet another tragic illustration of this. In the space of ten years, the country has become a major transit area for cocaine produced in Colombia on its way to the United States, Europe and, to a lesser extent, Asia. Surrounded by the world's two biggest cocaine producers, with a Pacific coastline that opens up to Asia to the west, the Central American corridor giving it access to Europe via the Panama Canal and the United States to the north, Ecuador's geography unfortunately meant that it was bound to attract the greed of criminal organisations constantly on the lookout for new routes. While it is probably still too early to speak of a failed state, the backdrop of the many political, social and security crises that the country has been experiencing in recent years raises fears of a "Mexicanisation", from which it is well known that once started it is very difficult to escape.

Interview with GANDILHON Michel, IFRI, 12 January 2024