Should Ecuador apply the "Bukele strategy"?

The country is experiencing a serious violent crime wave in which civil society has become the victim of narcoterrorism.

Ecuador is facing a serious crisis of violence. Criminals kidnapping civilians, prisoners in prisons rioting and kidnapping security guards, and even criminals entering a television studio to kidnap journalists while broadcasting live are just some of the dramatic events that have taken place in recent weeks. President Daniel Noboa has responded by declaring a state of emergency for 60 days, imposing a curfew, and militarizing the streets and prisons.

In today's podcast, we talk with Economics professor Luis Espinosa Goded, who describes the current situation from within Ecuador and tells us about the roots of this unprecedented narcoterrorism crisis that the country is experiencing. Our guest explains that drug trafficking has taken over not only the prisons, in which the druglords send out their orders and manage their criminal activities, but also significant spaces within the political sphere, the justice system, and the media.

When we asked him about the role of former president Rafael Correa in this crisis and the relationship between the leftist leader and the drug trafficking cartels that have plunged Ecuador into its current moment of terror, Espinosa Goded affirmed, "We know that these groups want Rafael Correa to return to the presidency, because the private chats said so, and they explicitly supported Correísmo (leftist political party of the former president)." Our guest also pointed out that Correa's strategy was always a kind of pact in which criminals were not persecuted, and in exchange, they reined in the violence to an extent.

We also asked our guest about the possibility of the "Bukele strategy" being applied in Ecuador, to which Espinosa Goded responded: "If we speak for the people, by listening to what the taxi drivers say, what the workers say, what you can hear on the buses, the demand, the cry is: we want a Bukele."

Finally, we discussed what a "Bukele strategy" means and whether this can be applied in Ecuador.