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Ecuador and Italy unite against drug trafficking

Ecuador's drug trafficking crisis has led to significant collaboration with Italy, utilizing its experience in combating organized crime. President Noboa has declared a state of emergency and aims to avoid the controversial crime-fighting methods seen in El Salvador

The Italy-Ecuador connection. As Ecuador continues to be a critical hub for international drug trafficking, the exacerbating crime epidemic has led to significant involvement on behalf of the Italian government in combating the illicit trade, as reported by La Repubblica newspaper on Wednesday.

  • The Latin American drug traffickers collaborate extensively with Italian organized crime syndicates, most prevailingly the ‘Ndrangheta. This phenomenon has prompted close cooperation between the respective administrations in tackling this growing problem.
  • “More and more frequently, we are finding that numerous shipments of drugs are being seized in the port of Gioia Tauro in containers, even those in transit, originating from ports in Ecuador,” Giovanni Bombardieri, prosecutor of Reggio Calabria, told La Repubblica. “This is a significant finding because it demonstrates how cocaine is being extracted from the port of arrival thanks to port workers connected to ‘Ndrangheta clans. This enables us to initiate targeted investigations into international trafficking, for which we have requested the cooperation of Ecuadorian authorities,” he added.

An analogous experience. Italy’s considerable expertise in battling organized crime has turned it into a vital ally for Ecuador.

  • Decades ago, Italy faced similar challenges from the mafia, which engaged in the same violent activities, such as the assassinations of journalists, police officers, and politicians, that have now become commonplace in Ecuador.
  • Over the years, Italy has managed to mitigate these threats and develop a comparatively robust model for fighting organized crime.

A focus on human rights. This Italian model, characterized by strict adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights, is precisely what Ecuador’s President, Daniel Noboa, seeks to emulate.

  • The President has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the army to curb the trafficking but has explicitly stated his intent to avoid controversial methods such as those used by his Salvadoran counterpart, Nayib Bukele, who faces accusations of human rights violations.

The anti-drug alliance. The collaboration between Italy and Ecuador represents a strategic partnership to leverage Italy’s successful anti-mafia tactics to address Ecuador’s current crisis.

  • Italian judicial experts and law enforcement agencies are working with Ecuadorian authorities to implement these strategies efficiently.
  • The battle will not be easy, however. The well-funded, ruthless drug cartels harbour significant resources and the upcoming presidential elections in Ecuador, to take place next February, put President Noboa under immense pressure to deliver swift and palpable results.

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