International drug trafficking – Update as of 29/02/2024

A new turning point for Ecuador?

In the new report published by InsightCrime, a research and analysis site dedicated to organized crime and security in South America, the number of homicides in Latin America and the Caribbean rose to 20 out of 100,000 people in 2023. That is 117,492 homicide deaths in a single year.

How did we get here?

Mainly because of the ongoing war between gangs for control of the drug routes that cross almost all Latin American countries, flooding the American market for years and, more recently, the European market. At the top of the list of countries where death reigns around every corner is Ecuador, which recorded its deadliest year in over 5 years: 44.5 homicides per 100,00 inhabitants in 2023. Poverty, global inflation and often corrupt political systems lead the population of these countries to find other sources of income, the most important of which is drug production and trafficking. This trade, known to all for centuries, brings money, power struggles, violence and war.

These figures should be seen in the context of Transparency International’s corruption scores for 2023. South American countries are among the lowest-scoring in terms of transparency, with Argentina in 36th place, Ecuador in 34th place, Peru in 33rd place, Mexico in 31 st place, and Venezuela in 13 th place.

This situation is spreading more and more every day to the rest of South America, as in Uruguay, where the government has turned to the DEA for help in curbing the country’s drug problem.

And what about Ecuador?

In Ecuador, since January 9 and the decree to militarize the country’s public security by recently elected President Daniel Noboa, the government has announced 4,488 detentions [including those of] 237 suspected terrorists”, the seizure of 40 tons of drugs, 1,500 firearms and over 5,000 explosive devices.

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