Yesterday, our dear friend Gerhard sent us an article he stumbled across. After further research, we discovered the news was broadcast worldwide about the country of Ecuador declaring a “nationwide State of Emergency” as of January 8, the original date that we were leaving Ecuador.
Had we stayed until our rental contract ended, there’s no doubt we could have faced delays with added security, police, and military presence, all with rifles in hand, on the highway and at the airport. We are grateful we got out when we did.
This situation further exemplifies how dangerous the country has become when we assumed that Ecuador was considered safe for tourists only a few years ago.
Here is information from this site, one of the many articles we read online.
QUITO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – At least four Ecuadorean police officers have been kidnapped by criminals, the police said on Tuesday, and explosions occurred in several cities, a day after President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency.
Noboa, a former legislator and son of one of the country’s richest men took office in November on promises to fix the struggling economy and stem a wave of violence on the streets and in prisons, which has been growing for years.
Noboa declared the 60-day state of emergency– a tool used by his predecessor to little success – on Monday, enabling military patrols, including in prisons, and setting a national nighttime curfew.
The measure was a response to the disappearance of Adolfo Macias, leader of the Los Choneros criminal gang, from the prison where he was serving a 34-year sentence and incidents at six prisons, including hostage-takings of prison guards.
Police and prosecutors have given scant information about Macias’ disappearance.
Three police officers working the night shift were taken from their station in the southern city of Machala, the police said on social media on Tuesday, while a fourth missing officer was taken by three criminals in Quito.
“Our specialized units are active with the goal of locating our colleagues and proceeding with the capture of the perpetrators,” the police said. “These acts will not remain in impunity.”
The explosions, including on a pedestrian bridge in Quito, resulted in no injuries, but the capital’s municipal authority asked in a statement for reinforced security amid the “unprecedented” crisis.
Noboa has said he will not negotiate with “terrorists,” and the government has blamed recent incidents of prison violence on Noboa’s plan to build a new high-security prison and transfer jailed gang leaders.
Prisons agency SNAI has given no information about the guards who are being held hostage.
Noboa plans to hold a plebiscite focused on security efforts.”
We can only imagine how difficult it may have been had we not left Ecuador on December 14, 2023, only 3½ weeks ago. We certainly consider the $190 fine we had to pay when no crime was committed on our way to the Guayaquil Airport from Mirador San Jose to be a drop in the bucket compared to issues we may have encountered had we tried to leave on January 8.
As mentioned above, we are very grateful we got out of there when we did for more than one reason, as our regular readers know so well.
Photo from ten years ago today, January 9, 2014: