The New Year confirmed to Ecuadorians their new reality: 50 violent deaths in a single day to begin 2024. And the majority in areas of the country where drug trafficking has been deployed with the intention of deepening its roots. More than double (23) than 365 days ago.

All this after a year that has broken all homicide records, 7,500, in the Andean country. Insecurity was already the main challenge for the new government of moderate Daniel Noboa, who took office at the end of November. With a society eager to learn about his Phoenix Plan against “narcoterrorist groups”, Noboa announced that next week the construction of the first super prison will begin in Pastaza (in the Amazon) and that days later they will continue with another in Santa Elena, the province coast from where he launched himself to the presidency.

“They are the same, because it is the same company, the same design made in the prisons in Mexico and El Salvador. For all the bukelelovers it is an equal prison,” Noboa stressed in reference to the Salvadoran president, who has a legion of followers in the Americas for its tough policy against the gangs, despite the complaints made by human rights organizations.

Images of the Salvadoran megaprison of Tecoluca, with capacity for 40,000 inmates, went around the world in February, when Bukele ordered it to begin receiving gang members from the Mara Salvatrucha. On their knees, with their hands behind their heads and half-naked, those prisoners became a symbol in a region, Latin America and the Caribbean, which despite not reaching 10% of the world’s population accounts for more than 40% of violent deaths in the planet. Insecurity and political corruption have thus become the main weapons of continental populists.

The Noboa Government also intends to demolish the Litoral Penitentiary, in Guayaquil, which has become the general headquarters of the different criminal gangs, “soldiers” of the Mexican cartels of Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación. Only on one day in 2023 were there more murders than on this January 1 and it was in July, during one of the prison riots and massacres in this penitentiary.

“If they want to go (to the new prisons), take a walk, get to know it, stay one night, they will commit a crime,” threatened Noboa, who already in the electoral campaign opted for the construction of barge prisons to take the main prisoners to the high seas and keep them incommunicado. drug lords and organized crime.

The president assured that the prisons will be built in 10 months, a record time.

In the last few hours, the government has also taken aim against insecurity by arresting, after an extensive operation, Fabricio Colón Pico, one of the bosses of the Los Lobos gang, accused of wanting to attack the attorney general, Diana Salazar. The head of the Public Ministry personally heads the Metastasis Case against drug trafficking, which has even implicated Jorge Glas, former vice president of Rafael Correa, who is taking refuge today in the Mexican Embassy in Quito.

“Congratulations to the Police and support group for the successful intelligence and monitoring work. Order fulfilled,” Mónica Palencia, Minister of Government and Interior of the Noboa cabinet, addressed the president.

Prosecutor Salazar herself warned the authorities that there was a plan against her by the same people who murdered investigative journalist Fernando Villavicencio, former presidential candidate. In the three open processes surrounding the assassination, the one against an identity card of Los Lobos stands out, who would be involved in the murder that changed the electoral destiny of Ecuador.

The National Police had tightened the siege against Captain Pico, as the criminal is known, accused of kidnappings and other criminal activities.

In his fight against time and with just over a year remaining at the head of the government before running for president in 2025, Daniel Noboa has decided to consult the country to accelerate several laws that he considers fundamental. The president has referred 11 questions to the Constitutional Court, among which the expansion of the Army’s functions in the fight against crime stands out. The government is also interested in processing the deportation of foreigners, as well as various judicial and penal reforms.

The date of its celebration is not yet known, but experts predict that it would be in March. For the opposition, this is a “useless and erratic” exercise, since all of them could be approved in Parliament. “It is a totally inappropriate consultation,” Correa lashed out from exile.