Armed forces will remain in the streets and prisons after emergency period ends, government says

Feb 28, 2024 | 0 comments

Government Minister Mónica Palencia confirmed Wednesday that the armed forces will remain on the streets and in the prisons after the state of emergency ends April 7. “Acts of violence, including murders, have dropped significantly as a result of the military assistance and our intention is to continue this progress,” she said.

Government Minister Mónica Palencia

Last week, President Daniel Noboa said an extension of military deployment was being considered.

Palencia said the situation in the nation’s prisons is “very complicated” and it is unclear when management can be returned to the national prison authority (SNAI). “Because of the armed forces, we have retaken control of the penal facilities from the criminal gangs, and the troops will remain in place for the foreseeable future. SNAI officials tell us they cannot guarantee prisons will remain secure if the soldiers leave due to the rampant extortion and bribery of guards and other personnel that existed prior to the emergency. Under the current arrangement, prison employees are working side-by-side with the soldiers.”

Palencia added that construction of a new maximum-security prison in Santa Elena will begin “within a matter of days.”

In an interview with Ecuavisa tv, Palacias also applauded the defeat of a proposal in the National Assembly that would have allowed public review of ongoing criminal investigations and conviction files. “It is vital that we maintain the confidentiality of the investigative and legal processes,” she said. “Because of our fight with organized crime, it is more important than ever that the integrity of the entire legal system be maintained.”

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