“We are practically living in a state of war, against terrorism. It is time to fight them.” Martial haircut and combat aesthetics, but with style. Daniel Noboa (36 years old), the youngest president of the Americas, since last Monday has combined his modern statesman suits with black jackets and strong shapes that accompany his heavy-handed, not at all complacent, speech.

There is a reason why it has declared internal war on drug trafficking and organized crime, those “terrorists” who seem to hide everywhere and who with their bizarre names terrorize its people.

A war that is nothing like the one that ended 29 years ago against Peru, but that demands even stronger leadership. Noboa has finished running on the beach bare-chested, as if he were Vladimir Putin, to adopt a very Volodymir Zelensky tone, comedian and television star converted into the iron leader facing the invasion of the Russian superpower.

Some believe that this politician, who defines himself as a “moderate social democrat”, wants to become the Bukele of the Southern Cone. They are wrong, despite the similarities in the commitment to the megaprisons already built in Central America and Mexico.

Noboa wants to impose his own style, far from the autocratic tones of the Salvadoran, even mocking the bukelelovers (term used by the president), but knowing that Latin American societies are fed up with violence and impunity. Therefore, in the Antipodes of Lasso 2.0 (as his enemies call him, a modern version of the previous president), who was accused of being contemplative in the fight against drug trafficking.

Words and actions that go along the same path, in fact the son of the country’s main banana magnate has already announced that he will not attend the inauguration of Bernardo Arévalo in Guatemala this weekend nor will he travel to Europe next week to participate. , as planned, at the Davos Forum.

Tough and confrontational, like those boxers who in the ring do not take a step back knowing that to deliver a final hook they must first receive a few blows. There’s a reason Noboa is a close friend, I even openly support him in the campaign, of the local mixed martial arts champion, Marlon Chito Vera, as forceful when it comes to encouraging his “brother” as he does with his fists: “It has to be a “immediate fumigation. Only then will the good people have peace tomorrow!” he fired on his networks when the state of emergency was proclaimed.

Already in his day, the president himself acknowledged that he was a man of few words, but that they were “short and thick.” Like punches. And since he faced the challenge against the State, they are also very sharp.

“They have hostages in prisons, but the kidnappers talk about human rights. Are we crazy? Scared? I tell those leaders (capos), go out to the streets, I give you a pardon. Face the military, but not now “They want to get out. That has never happened before, they are used to terrorizing the government, the citizens. Now that fear has to be in them,” the president confronted the drug traffickers, after becoming the target of all the mafia messages.

When the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (ADN) took command of the country at the end of November he knew what he was facing. Los Choneros, Los Lobos, Los Lagartos, Chone Killers, the Cuartel de las Feas, the Dark Knights and the rest of the gangs enjoyed impunity and negotiated with the Mexican cartels while they killed each other and everyone who crossed their path. . Among them Fernando Villavicencio, the anti-corruption journalist who as a presidential candidate had promised to fight the same battle that Noboa now faces.

“Give in to evil, never! Fight tirelessly, always!” said the president to raise the spirits of his troops and people. According to the government itself, 95% of the population supports the state of emergency, something that is felt daily in the streets of the country. Or it felt like it, because the latest bill that the government has urgently presented contemplates an increase in VAT from 12% to 15%. The goal is to finance the war, but the measure is clearly unpopular.

In this way, Noboa intends to obtain a billion dollars this year, because he knows that it is now, in 2024, when he is risking all his chances to be re-elected next year. In this express legislature, full of challenges, he has pushed for Ecuadorians to vote at the end of April in a referendum and popular consultation on several changes to the Constitution, including the extradition of drug lords.

To carry out his plan, Noboa must maintain the political support achieved so far, almost unanimous in Parliament, which only a few months ago wanted to remove his predecessor through impeachment. At the moment, Rafael Correa’s citizen revolution has already distanced itself, as have the Social Christians, which makes this legislative process the most complicated of his presidency.

“A war decree will always unite a country. But beyond the symbolic, Noboa has not led unity towards the tangible, which has caused the first uncomfortable decision (the increase in VAT) to not have unconditional support as they did in previous episodes. Either there is no clear strategic plan or it has not been told,” highlights analyst Matías Abad for EL MUNDO.

The president has also dealt blows to his political enemies, some of them unjustified. He has also not liked in the press how he criticized TeleAmazonas, even with a request for an investigation, for broadcasting live what was happening on Tuesday during the armed and violent takeover of the TC Televisión channel by a group of kamikazes from the Los Tiguerones gang. . In short, for doing his job.