Why Has Ecuador Announced National Emergency?

In a dramatic turn of events, Ecuador finds itself in a state of upheaval as the country’s most notorious crime lord, Jose Adolfo Macias, widely known as “Fito,” successfully fled captivity, prompting President Daniel Noboa to declare a 60-day nationwide state of emergency. The escape unfolded against a backdrop of prison riots, leaving authorities grappling to regain control and recapture the fugitive kingpin.

Chaos Unleashed by Prison Break

Renowned as the leader of the Los Choneros gang, Fito orchestrated a daring escape from a Guayaquil jail, where he was serving a 34-year sentence for heinous crimes, including murder and drug trafficking. The ensuing day witnessed a wave of violence and disorder in at least six prisons across Ecuador as Fito’s escape reverberated through the penitentiary system.

Retaliatory Kidnappings and Escalating Crisis

In a disturbing turn of events, groups believed to be affiliated with Fito reportedly kidnapped three police officers near Machala, a coastal city, and another in the capital, Quito. This apparent act of retaliation added another layer of complexity to an already escalating crisis, compelling President Noboa to take unprecedented measures.

State of Emergency: Drastic Measures Unleashed

To swiftly curb the spiraling crisis, President Noboa invoked extraordinary executive powers, officially declaring a nationwide state of emergency. This empowers the military to take to the streets and assume control of prisons for the next 60 days. Additionally, a nightly curfew from 10 pm to 5 am has been imposed nationwide.

Unwavering Commitment to Recapture

President Noboa, in a public address, emphasized that the battle against the unfolding crisis is a collective responsibility. He unequivocally stated that negotiations with terrorists would not be entertained. The head of state pledged that security forces would relentlessly pursue and re-apprehend the dangerous fugitive, Fito.

Profile of Adolfo Macias: “Fito”

Jose Adolfo Macias Cervantes, known as “Fito,” ascended to the leadership of Los Choneros, considered Ecuador’s most formidable organized crime syndicate, following the assassination of the previous boss. Fito entered the prison system over a decade ago, sentenced to 35 years for offenses like establishing drug processing labs and orchestrating gang-related assassinations.

Even behind bars, Fito wielded significant influence, directing criminal activities such as international narcotics trafficking and murder. His audacious escape after more than a decade of incarceration has catapulted him to the top of Ecuador’s most-wanted list, prompting extensive military and police efforts for a nationwide manhunt.

As Ecuador grapples with soaring crime rates, Fito’s escape poses a significant challenge to President Noboa’s commitment to law and order since assuming office in November 2022. The nation watches anxiously as the authorities mobilize to confront the ramifications of this unprecedented escape.

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