The attack with terrorist characteristics that shook a neighborhood of Cristo del Consuelo, in the south of Guayaquil, transcended borders. International media reproduced graphics of the devastated area and stories of the tragedy that caused 5 deaths, 17 injuries and damage to buildings.
The situation has reached worrying levels and concern is felt in the streets. The fact adds to the wave of violence that crosses the city and that has worsened in the last year with the appearance of cases of extortion, robberies and armed robberies.
This, in addition to the increase in violent deaths this year. So far in 2022, 884 have already been counted in Zone 8. All these factors generate uncertainty and restlessness among citizens.
This newspaper interviewed citizens in the streets of the city and who exercise their professions or activities in different fields. They were asked a question: What do you think should be done to stop the wave of violence that exists in the city? Here are some of these proposals:
Gioconda Lara, economist: Eliminate the table of drug consumption to exterminate micro-trafficking
The Government should return to the idea of eliminating the drug consumption table. Former minister Alexandra Vela proposed it at the time and I think it is something that can work as an alternative to stop micro-trafficking. Ecuador does not produce the drug, but being a transit country it is a territory in which the fight between gangs becomes more acute. Within this elimination of the table, control in schools must also be strengthened, since many young people have been taken as key players for the commercialization of substances.
David Sánchez, private company technician: The Comprehensive Criminal Code must be a strong and forceful instrument
The law that establishes sentences must be restructured, in this case the Comprehensive Penal Code. The laws in Ecuador have loopholes and are flexible, something like this should not happen anywhere in the world. The detainees themselves cannot be allowed to circumvent the judicial systems, because they know that in two or three months they will be released. Another thing is that the military and police forces must be unified, during the health emergency they had other functions, now they could do the same.
Mariana Mendoza, graduate in Nursing: More resources for the investigative part of the Police
The Police budget should strengthen the area of criminal investigation. This department should be one of the most important because, as its name indicates, it allows action on crimes. The strengthening, beyond the economic, must be in the human resource. Specialized people, perhaps even from other countries, who have entered the world of drug trafficking and gangs that operate not only in Ecuador, but also have an international reach.
Fabián Castro, private employee: Provide more weapons to the Police
Vehicles, motorcycles, weapons and better training for police officers is what is urgently required. The acts that we have witnessed in recent days can already be considered ‘terrorism’. In addition, the police workforce must be cleaned up. An in-depth examination, as is done in other institutions, to verify that there are no corruption networks within the institution. It is necessary to root out the vices of corruption that may exist.
Damaris Núñez, Foreign Trade student: Articulation between Government and Mayor’s Office
There must be articulation of the Government, the Mayor’s Office and the other powers of the State. As long as there is no union there will not be a strong message against delinquency and organized crime. The National Police should be declared in emergency. The fact that many UPCs are poorly equipped means that there is little control in the neighborhoods and little capacity for emergency calls. The institution must be empowered to deal with the situation.
Steven Muñiz, Information Systems engineer: Reform laws and toughen sentences
It is necessary to toughen the laws that govern within the country. Avoid favoring the guilty and stronger sentences. You can take the example of the sentences that are carried out in the United States or the measures that countries like El Salvador have taken to control security in the country.
Juan Carlos Mendoza, industrial engineer: First of all, the judicial sector must be ‘swept away’
The judicial sector must be ‘swept out’, that is, the system that currently exists in the country must be reformed. The Police do the best they can with what they have and would probably have better results if the Judiciary did what it should. There are legal loopholes that must be resolved so that there is no vicious circle in which the Police arrest criminals and justice releases them. A popular consultation to reform laws is necessary, the President of the Republic could set a precedent and summon this resource to strengthen the norms.
Ana María Jumbo, private sector employee: The important thing is to strengthen the prison system, but really strengthen it
There has been talk of strengthening different branches within the state, but the situation in the prisons remains the same. No one goes into those places because it is known that they are in charge of certain gangs. It is necessary to coin successful models from other countries in which prisons are synonymous with punishment, with true rehabilitation. Jail should be the resource that criminals should fear coming to, not the place where they meet their peers.
Miguel Loor, private employee: Fight corruption both in the Police and in the Judiciary
A declaration of exception and sending the army to the streets to control everything in the most violent sectors. It is necessary that there is a restructuring at the structural level of the heads of the National Police and also within the Judicial Function, the judges. In the latter because decisions have been made with which criminals are released. The underlying issue is the corruption that exists in the different spheres of control.
Luis Campoverde, public servant: Elite Police groups should take to the streets and to areas with the highest rate of violence
The Police must be very well equipped and trained to deal with any situation that may arise. Declaring this institution in emergency could be considered as an issue to be analyzed since, from the Government, several entities have been declared in emergency at the time and have not registered major changes. The most important thing now is that the elite groups of the National Police are the ones that go out to ‘confront’ all this type of violent situations that have been generated in the last year.
Jennifer Guevara, Professor of Economics: Intervene in port areas and their surroundings
Guayaquil is a valuable city for the criminal organization due to the connection generated by its ports. Intervention is important not only in the control of containers arriving at the port, but before that. Control what happens from the time they leave the patios to the terminal, which is where the strengthening of controls in areas such as Trinitaria and the Maritime Port comes in. They should not be random controls, but perennial.
Gustavo Mora, lawyer: No more containment measures if there are no action plans
The exceptional regime definitely reveals that there is no true comprehensive security policy in the Government. It has already been said that there are shortcomings from the judicial system to the police, so there must be intervention. It cannot be expected that with a state of emergency the gangs will wait and stop committing crimes or attacks. Quick measures are required, resources in weapons, vehicles, soldiers and police in the streets, command centers to monitor sectors. The cameras of the ECU911 and the Corporation for Citizen Security must be tools that pursue the same goal. No one should be isolated. (YO)