Curfews and other emergency restrictions could be relaxed based on local security conditions

Jan 23, 2024 | 0 comments

President Daniel Noboa announced Monday that a “traffic light” system is being developed to apply curfew hours and other emergency restrictions based on local security conditions. “This will allow a return to normal life in cantons with low levels of criminal gang activity,” he said in a Teleamazonas interview.

President Daniel Noboa

He said the new system will be announced early Tuesday and go into effect shortly after.

An 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was imposed January 8 following Noboa’s emergency declaration to confront a series of prison riots. Ecuador’s tourism industry has claimed that the curfew and restrictions on large gatherings has resulted in large financial losses for the country’s restaurants, bars and hotels.

In Cuenca, tourism interests and the five National Assembly members representing Azuay Province urged the government to set the city and province security at a “green light” level given the low incidence of violence.

“With this new system, the economy will be allowed to reactivate in safe areas, which includes most of Ecuador,” Noboa said. “I understand the financial losses suffered by the tourism sector and small businesspeople due to the emergency. The traffic light system will allow a return to more normal conditions.”

He added: “Although there will be relaxation of rules in safe areas, they will remain in cantons that continue to experience frequent incidents of gang violence.

Noboa defended the original restrictions that were applied nationwide. “These were necessary because of the sudden eruption of prison and gang violence. We did not know on January 8 and 9 the full scope of the crisis and needed time to act and to make an assessment,” he said. “I remain determined not to allow narco-terrorist groups to destroy our way of life.”

When interviewers asked if the state of emergency will end in 60 days, Noboa said a 30-day extension is likely. “The armed forces and the police doing great work but we are dealing with strong, well-organized and well-financed narco-terrorist groups,” he said. “This battle will not be won in two months.”

Noboa called the progress of military and police operations “very, very impressive” in the two weeks since the emergency was declared. “We have arrested 158 terrorists and as well of many more accused of criminal activity,” he said. “We have dismantled gang headquarters and seized thousands of firearms as well as explosives and ammunition. We have also collected and destroyed many tons of cocaine.”

Most impressive, Noboa said, is the “dramatic reduction” of crime since operations began. “The daily average of violent deaths in the country has dropped from 28 to eight, most of these in the six provinces where our efforts are focused.”

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