President Noboa gave a detailed interview to Radio Canela focusing on Ecuador’s recent security issues. The original interview in Spanish can be heard at Radio Canela’s site here.
Massive thanks to Ana Herington for editing the translated text and making this English version more accessible to everyone. Ana is also the admin for the Cuenca Expats Facebook Group and it’s a great local resource I encourage you to keep an eye on.
Whilst every effort has been made to translate accurately, we can’t guarantee 100% accuracy so please defer to the original interview in Spanish if you have any doubts.
In this interview with the President of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, critical issues surrounding the current state of the country, particularly in relation to security concerns and terrorism, are discussed. The President addresses questions about the ongoing challenges, the measures taken, and future plans to restore stability.
Here are some of the main takeaways:
1. State of War
Ecuador is declared to be in a state of non-international armed conflict, indicating a shift in how the government perceives and responds to security threats.
“We are in a state of war, and we cannot give in to these terrorist groups.”
2. Counterterrorism Measures
The government is taking stringent measures against terrorist groups, treating them as military targets, with the Armed Forces playing a crucial role.
“Terrorists are military targets. And if they want to resist and if they want to show off like they do videos on Facebook, on Whatsapp with rifles shooting in the air, that they are the wolves, that they are the ones here. Well, be brave, fight the military head on.“
3. Hostage Situation
Efforts are underway to recover hostages held by terrorists, and the President emphasizes that negotiation is not an option.
“[W]e are doing everything possible and impossible to bring them all back safe and sound, but we cannot stop a war because of that.
4. International Cooperation
The United States and China are mentioned as potential collaborators in addressing security issues, with assistance packages expected.
“We had a meeting with the Ambassador Fitzpatrick from the United States, yesterday afternoon, after the decree, and he said that in a few days, two, 3 days, they will come with an assistance package to Ecuador. They are evaluating it.“
5. Prison Reforms
Plans include the construction of new prisons, addressing issues of overcrowding, and disconnecting signals to prevent communication among inmates.
“[T]omorrow we are going to show the two prisons.“
6. Public Safety
The government is focused on safeguarding citizens and discouraging terrorist activities, with a promise to reveal a plan to address potential blackouts.
“We are making every effort to recover everyone, all the hostages and we are not going to give in.”
Related Video – Cuenca Security Update 10 Jan 2024
7. Youth Engagement
Recognizing the vulnerability of the youth to criminal activities, initiatives such as education, employment opportunities, and international support for scholarships are emphasized.
“Our problem is not a Social Security problem like Japan has, like Spain has, which has a lot of retired people or a lot of old people and few young contributors. We have a lot of young people who, if they were employed, could easily pay the pensions of the 6% of the population above retirement age.”
8. Economic Impact
Acknowledging the potential economic repercussions, the President assures the formulation of an economic reactivation plan to support micro-entrepreneurs.
“An economic reactivation plan is also being prepared because this state of war, as you have indicated, is going to affect and is already affecting the micro-economy, especially the small ones, the people who work day by day and make a living day by day with whatever they sell during the day.“
9. Free Trade Agreement
Support for a Free Trade Agreement with China is expressed, with the potential to generate jobs and protect the Ecuadorian labor force.
“Of course, it is in the International Relations Commission. It has already been voted on. What I understand, what I have been told from the legislative side is that all the benches are in favor, except for the Revolucion Ciudadana Party ( Correas party). For the Free Trade Agreement with the Chinese.“
10. Consultation and Reform
A national consultation is proposed, with questions addressing issues such as extradition, illegal mining, and military courts to reform the judicial system.
“Likewise, the law of extinction of domain are essential issues to reform the judicial court, to reform certain laws so that we can have greater security and we can combat these terrorist groups.“
11. Foreign Prisoners
Plans to deport foreign prisoners serving sentences in Ecuador are in motion, starting with coordination with Colombia.
“We will sent them the 1500 prisoners that we are keeping in Ecuadorian jails, well, the moment we take them out we stop having outflows, these foreign prisioners already have sentences of 5 and more years. And according to Ecuadorian law, we can take them out of the country and through international treaties, we can take those 1500 and leave them at the border and thank you very much, stay over there.“
12. Media Influence
The President criticizes media sensationalism during the kidnapping of a television channel, highlighting the need for investigations into media practices.
“[W]hy does Teleamazonas want to spectacularize, why it is linked? Because there was no reporter, there was no reporter, it is linked live, Teleamazonas, it grabs the TC signal. Why spectacularize that? That should be investigated, it is also important.“
13. Political Support
The President expresses a cautious approach towards political support, emphasizing trust in the Armed Forces and international cooperation.
“[T]oday, the one who is governing is Daniel Noboa and those who are in the action procedure are the Armed Forces.“
Full Interview with Daniel Noboa
Speaker 1: Mr. President, good morning, welcome.
Good morning, thank you for having me. Well, I was also in Canela radio station, Guayaquil with all our friends there and always. It is always a pleasure to accompany them in the morning and to talk is important for people to know what it is.
Speaker 1 17:44
What is going to happen already with the decree you have just signed? What do we have to communicate to Ecuadorians? What do you have to tell them to reassure us, because you have gone through very difficult moments, especially these 48 hours.
Yes, well, we are going through a very hard time and this Government is a firm Government, it is a Government that is going to protect the citizens and the times of weak governments are over.
Speaker 1 18:22
And it seems to me that by signing this document, this decree, we are in a state of war.
Yes, we are practically in a non-international armed conflict. We are fighting for national peace; we are also fighting against terrorist groups that today there are more than 20,000 people who are part of them and they had not been given a name or determination. It was as if they wanted to be called organized crime groups because it is easier when they are terrorists and when we live in a state of conflict, a state of war, other laws apply. International humanitarian law applies as well, which is different from the. What is happening in Ecuador? And it is also a message that we are not going to give in, it is a message that we are not going to let. That society dies slowly, but that today we are going to fight them. Today we are going to give solutions and. Soon, soon we are going to give peace to Ecuadorian families.
Speaker 1 19:40
Let us explain a little bit to the people, what does it mean to be in a state of war where the Armed Forces, the, the head of the joint command would be practically already making the decisions and locating this internal enemy and making use of lethal force. And the lethal issue, identifying already as it is in his decree the enemy.
Totally they are military objectives now, they are military objectives, the person in charge is the commander in chief, the President of the Republic, but all tactical decisions will be made by the military and today I applaud their courage, I applaud the decision also of the Armed Forces of Ecuador, in which in a patriotic way, in a strong way, they are going out to the streets also to counteract this wave of violence.
This violence is not an accident, we are beginning to apply our security plan, which consisted of port and border security, prison segmentation, removing the leaders from the prisons and placing them in isolated maximum security zones.
To retake control, to have radar monitoring with drones to fight drug trafficking and terrorism, to also have military presence in the 5 most important export routes of Ecuadorian products for the country. Of the most important Ecuadorian products to also protect the industry to also protect the exporters and thus protect the employment of Ecuadorians.
All this is part of our security plan. It is also complementary to issues such as the metastasis case, the anti-corruption fight. In which each of the actions that have been done have been coordinated with the Government. All the raids were carried out with 600 police officers, 57 raids, more than 40 vehicles were used, 3 airplanes. This was from the State, this was supported by the President of the Republic, the Attorney General of the State.
We cannot fight this from only one side and it is not only with bullets, it is also in the judicial function. We will consider judges and prosecutors who support identified leaders of these terrorist groups, also as part of the terrorist group. Let’s see if this is the way they want to make absurd rulings. It is absurd that Colon Pico (identified terrorist lider) had a judge who had taken him out of jail 6 times. Same Judge! All these people are going to be considered also as part of terrorism and this Government is taking the necessary actions that in the last years nobody wanted to take and for that you need big ostrich balls , not cardboard balls.
Speaker 1 22:28
Mr. President of the Republic, here on Radio Canela. My question is: Is there already control inside the prisons, this has been going on for some time now. You have not even completed 50 days in the national government. It would be insane to say that it is your responsibility to say that you have only been in office for 50 days, but in previous years this issue has been accumulating. And what is the solution to the control of the prison system that has not been achieved yet?
Enrique, to make things clear, let’s start with specific cases, the case of Fito, who in the last two governments he went in and out of the Penitentiary like a dog in a house. The moment he finds out through information leaks that we are going to move the heads of these gangs to maximum security prisons and will be taken away from their comfort, that we are going to take him out and put him in a security prison, at that moment we identify that the guy (Fito) was not there, that’s it.
Today they don’t want the control of prisions. They had to be broken and now that we have decreed a state of non-international armed conflict they claim to be protected under the Geneva Treaty?? Claimin that is human rights. Its unbelieve!! While they have right now forty, fifty, sixty hostages in some prisons and they dare to talk about Human Rights? The kidnappers of 40 people!! They are crazy scared. So I tell them this: I will give you a pardon. To those gang leaders, go out to the streets. Confront the military. Of course, they don’t want to go out now. Not even with a pardon they want to go out. That had never happened before. It had never happened before, they were used to frighten the government, to frighten the citizens. Now that fear has to be put in them!
Speaker 1 24:52
Mr. President, Do you have the budget and the resources to face this situation that you are facing?
We are not planning a party here, this is an extreme measure. That we have had, we have been forced to take due to the situation in which we live, we have to cut expenses, which we as a State have in our planning of economic deficiency, to reduce expenses, to reduce expenditures on the part of the State.
Likewise, we have the international assistance that we are accepting from all the countries that want to help us. The United States, Peru, Argentina, Israel, Canada, China, Colombia, Russia. Canada, China, Colombia, Russia, Colombia said also that they wanted to help us. I told them perfect!
We will sent them the 1500 prisoners that we are keeping in Ecuadorian jails, well, the moment we take them out we stop having outflows, these foreign prisioners already have sentences of 5 and more years. And according to Ecuadorian law, we can take them out of the country and through international treaties, we can take those 1500 and leave them at the border and thank you very much, stay over there.
Those are the types of measures, also financing, international assistance from the United States, China, Israel, Argentina. They have already pronounced, that is where the money comes from, but I cannot drown the citizens at this moment with taxes, because people also need money, the scope and they want to work. So we must be very careful in the things we do.
Speaker 2: Mr. President, good morning. Eduardo Andino greets you and I would like to ask you about something specific. You have just indicated that practically your Fenix plan is structured in accordance with the National Plan for integral security and the criminal policy plan required by the Public Security Law.
In response to what has just happened with Fito and Colón Pico and talking a little bit about the purge of the National Police, have you been able to identify, for example, in these two specific cases, who are the people responsible for their escape? You have been able to identify and to an internal purge in the National Police because I think we are going to coincide that this bad police has also been responsible.
I agree 100%, and not only the National Police, but also SNAI, we have already prosecuted the people who were in charge of the penitentiary of the littoral, when we did not find Fito. It is as simple as that, they are being prosecuted, they are going to be prosecuted by the Prosecutor’s Office and they are going to follow a trial and from there they will probably end up in jail.
Likewise, members of the police or the Armed Forces. Those who assist or block any operation will also be prosecuted and purged because they are assisting terrorists. We have to be very clear on that, but before that, as I say, I have been saying the Fenix Plan, I said it here in this booth 6 months, 7 months ago, there are even articles, there are recordings of all the things I said were going to happen, that we were fighting narcoterrorism, that we were going to militarize ports and borders, export routes, segmentation of prisons, maximum security prisons like the ones in Mexico or El Salvador.
We have already said all that. Returning to the subject of the purge, we changed the high command of the joint command, that was not easy. We had to renew 5 of the 8 Generals of the police of the highest ranking ones, we took out those who were generals, who had been promoted in the past governments.
The director of the anti-narcotics police left. The director of the Dgi left, the director of the Dgi left, we took him out. Those things had to happen at the beginning in order to implement a security plan, otherwise the money of all Ecuadorians is being wasted. Well, with officials who were not going to apply it.
Speaker 1 29:24
Mr. President, did you find about Fito’s escape several days later? Or did that happen? Indeed, in the early morning of last Sunday?
What I can give you is information received from SNAI.
Roll call was taken the night before and by seven o’clock at night it had been followed. Roll call was taken and yes, he was there, that is, from seven o’clock at night until the following day.
Speaker 1: So this means that he had time to take out all his things to clean all that suite where he lived?
No, the suite was full of things when we went in to check, but according to the information I have from SNAI at seven o’clock at night roll was taken. This is the information we have from the people who were in charge of that shift and the people who were in charge of that correctional facility and they are under investigation. It may also be that they falsified that roll call at seven o’clock the night before, is an investigation.
Likewise, we are in an active hunt for Colon Pico, Fito, as well as for others. Some of them are high-value targets that we have already caught, as is the case of Quevedo. We are moving and at this moment they are feeling that things are totally different.
Before, they were caught, they went somewhere else, they were prosecuted for some minor crime, and they were released. Now it is terrorism. And the dynamics change, first because it is international humanitarian law, number two, because the Judge that helps them is part of a terrorist network. Now they are a little more careful about helping a drug trafficker or a terrorist.
Speaker 3 Good morning, Mr. President, thank you for being in this media informing the whole of Ecuador. And it is with this purpose of informing that I would like to ask you about the situation.
The current situation in the prisons of the country, what is happening with the people who are kidnapped, with the penitentiary guides because there are images that have been disseminated, perhaps in a very informal, very, very unusual, in a way to spread panic in the population and we would like to know what is really happening.
That is correct, it is a measure of pressure, since the terrorists themselves spread images to terrorize the citizens and to see if they can break the President of the Republic, which is not going to happen. We are making every effort to recover everyone, all the hostages and we are not going to give in to the stupid things they are used to do, I am referring to the terrorists who are in these jails. It is difficult. It is hard. It is also hard with the families. We are in a state of war, we are in a state of war and we cannot give in to these terrorist groups.
Speaker 1 32:24
There are several messages that are already arriving to the Telegram chat.
Inés Tixie tells you, Mr. President, God bless you and guide you and give you wisdom. There are several messages that this as believers, we are also in this moment so that we can recover this citizen peace, the peace of the entire Ecuadorian territory.
Speaker 2 32:49
And Mr. President, it is a pleasure to see you again as a candidate and now to have you here to ask you something, is it true that the plan for the two prisons that you were in the Government’s plan to build them is being maintained? And the second question, How was it that yesterday the kidnapping of the TC television channel was so effective and there were no kidnappings? There were not so many people who were hurt more than psychologically, of course.
Thank God, thanking God, but what is the reason for this, which was a channel of the so-called State channel. but it was also effective and there were no injuries. What is the reason for this?
Well, first, as I say, these are measures to bother the Government to try to bend the State, I am 100% sympathetic to the staff of the TC television, they are State officials and I am the most responsible for that. We went in with everything, we went in with the police, we went in with the GOE, we went in with the GOE (ECUADORIAN SPECIAL FORCES) and we managed to neutralize the prisons very quickly tomorrow. We will even announce and show them. How the two jails are going to be, the Pastaza jail, as well as the Santa Elena jail. They were recommending names for the maximum-security prison, the prison of the meeting. We are still shuffling Possible names but we cannot, we cannot give in. What did they want? Part of the demands of the terrorist criminals was number one, not to move the leaders anywhere, that they stay in their suites, number two, that the new prisons not be built. Apart from all the insults they gave to the President of the Republic, but those were the demands, and we are not going to stop. Why? Because a bunch of terrorists and criminals want to intimidate an entire government? no, tomorrow we are going to show the two prisons.
Speaker 1 35:13
Mr. President, just in reference to what my colleague Nicolás de Espinoza was saying.
Why was it allowed or what were the circumstances that led to this kidnapped be broadcast for approximately 30 minutes live?
Because they wanted to screw the Government. Is it that simple,
Speaker 1: and why did they not cut the signal? Mr. President, if they want to instill terror. It was practically the spectacularization of terror. At that moment, live and direct at the national level?
Noboa: we did cut the signal, which magically, and I would like you to investigate. They were also linked and they were linked. It was Tele Amazonas (another national tv network) , why does Tele Amazonas want to spectacularize, why it is linked? Because there was no reporter, there was no reporter, it is linked live, Teleamazonas, it grabs the TC signal. Why spectacularize that? That should be investigated, it is also important.
Speaker 1 36:23
We are with the President of the Republic here from the cabin in Quito, Mr. President, the popular consultation will continue with the proposal of the questions that are already known.
There are 20 questions. I am a real democrat, not like others who said they were democrats and at the end of the day they were not, they were not interested when they did not have the other powers of the State aligned. We have presented questions, we have also accepted suggestions from other political groups that started insulting the whole consultation and now they think it is fine because the questions they recommended were included. And we are with quite hard questions like extradition, the illegal mining machinery, also the protection of the Armed Forces, military courts. Likewise, the law of extinction of domain are essential issues to reform the judicial court, to reform certain laws so that we can have greater security and we can combat these terrorist groups. And now it is in the hands of the Constitutional Court. We are waiting for it to pronounce itself and from there the accepted questions, we will choose from those accepted and we will launch the consultation. It is important to launch the consultation.
Speaker 1 37:53
what do you expect from the National Assembly?
Support. Right now I do not need their approval for what I am doing, but I do need their approval. I have asked them for their support, I have sent a resolution, I have asked. That I have a resolution on this decree and that they vote does not have any value of approval, but it shows the unity and political maturity of all the. It demonstrates the unity and political maturity of all the.
Speaker 1 38:24
What government and state policy, if the term fits, could be implemented to stop and eradicate the recruitment of adolescent children precisely for organized crime? We did not see 15 year olds there. Young adolescents who are in this difficult situation.
It is a social issue, it is a social issue. There has to be assistance, there has to be education, opportunities also for young people, employment, employment, but education for more than 200,000 young people who today are left out of a quota of public universities. To those people who have wanted to give us international assistance and support, we say direct scholarships or direct financing for a technical school program. Why? Because the youth, the youth today is the mass. It is the mass, we have more than a third of the population between 15 and 29 years old. We are a very young State. And a State that if we do not solve the problem of education, the problem of employment of the Youth, we are destined to fail. Our problem is not a Social Security problem like Japan has, like Spain has, which has a lot of retired people or a lot of old people and few young contributors. We have a lot of young people who, if they were employed, could easily pay the pensions of the 6% of the population above retirement age.
Speaker 1 40:04
In fact, that is the population that voted for you, the young people.
Of course, and we are going to give the results, we are going to give, we are going to comply with the things we have said.
Speaker 1 40:12
What special treatment will be given to the areas of greatest terrorist conflict? There are no Ecuadorian provinces, Ecuadorian cities that really need special treatment.
Esmeraldas, one of them.
Speaker 1 40:28
Esmeraldas, Durán Quevedo.
Esmeraldas of the north of the rivers, also during. Parts of Guayaquil with new Prosperina. It is in a terrible situation, Santo Domingo is going through a very difficult time, the south of the gold, arenillas and guaquíquillas which today also have a very high rate of violence and violent deaths, so these areas? These areas must have special attention and special intervention on the part of the Armed Forces. It is something we have identified and it is part of our strategy. It is to go on recovering zones. Today they are taken.
Speaker 1 41:14
At the international level, what is being disseminated affects us both for private investment, for foreigners, for foreign investment. How can we recover? Of course, we must recover peace in Ecuador, but also what work is going to be done at the international level? Because really no. They look at us YYYY I think that being one of the five most violent countries in the world is going to end up taking its toll on us economically.
That is why it has to be solved now, that is why it has to be solved at the beginning, but not deceiving the world, that is to say, everything here is fine. Come on, just invest, we just have to have an adequate legal framework, we have to have security, we have to have fiscal and social coherence, if we do not have those 3 things it is impossible to go to fairs and say No Ecuador, everything is fine, nothing happens, but you see, you see social networks and you see, well, the barbarities that happen, well it is trying to deceive yourself and try to deceive the international community, now is to say clearly, let’s see, we are in a state of war, who is going to help and who is going to help us? And there you see and once we solve the problem, which we are going to do and we have to do it soon. It is already easier for the investor, it is also easier for the visitor to go to areas that are protected, to areas where there is security, to areas where they can have peace of mind, but if we did not do it, this was now impossible, it was simply prolonging death. We were sustaining something unsustainable. Now we have become more confident, we have told the world what is happening and we have asked for their support and they are supporting us.
Speaker 1 43:12
Mr. President, a question, I am transferring a question from our listeners and from our chat that we are going to read questions from the Canela chat there with the respect and the height, we are going to read this comrades the questions.
Speaker 2 43:27
My question here is what is going to happen with the blackouts? Do we have that fear, what is going to happen with the blackouts? Tell us, tell us that there are not going to be blackouts.
We are going to determine that this week, I am not going to spoil the surprise, but we will provide important information from the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Today is also the vote today on the law, no more blackouts so that there is more investment in the generation and transmission of electricity and we have a modern electric infrastructure at national level, it is very important to demand your assembly members to vote in favor, so far it seems that there will be an important majority. And let us wait until five o’clock in the afternoon, I have another question here, Mr. President, you are proposing to deport some 1500 foreigners serving sentences in El País, is it feasible when this will be executed? That is, when already?
Speaker 2 44:25
Is this already visualized?
We started this week, I mean, understand the situation in which we live, because I cannot go around telling you what day or what time misfortune will continue to befall us, yes we do inform you, but. Constant communication with Colombia. We are going to start with Colombia. Likewise we have Venezuelans and Peruvians, which between Colombians, Venezuelans and Peruvians is 90% of the foreign population we have in the prisons. There we reduce overcrowding and state spending. There are 1,500 people that the State is maintaining, it is investing more in those 1,500 people than in school breakfast for our children.
Speaker 2 45:08
But on this subject, we are asked if in order to extradite a foreign prisoner it is not necessary for his country to request it.
No, no, it is not extradition, it is based on previous international agreements and also according to Ecuadorian law, a foreign prisoner, who has an enforceable sentence of 5 years or more. It can be with coordination with the counterpart (country), he can be taken out of the country and sent to his country. In this case we start with what is next, if I have, then a prisoner in Uzbekistan who will be at the end of the list.
Speaker 1 45:45
Mr. President, you say to Ecuadorians that do not want terrorists to be imprisoned, ecuadorinas want them to be eliminated. What is your position? Tough question. Difficult question.
My position is that all these groups. Terrorists are military targets. And if they want to resist and if they want to show off like they do videos on Facebook, on Whatsapp with rifles shooting in the air, that they are the wolves, that they are the ones here. Well, be brave, fight the military head on, let’s see if that is the way to do it, and it would not be violating any law, it is based on law. Transnational humanitarian.
Speaker 1: Mr. President, correct me if I am wrong, but last night I was informed that two of the 13 people arrested for the kidnapping of TC were minors. You have talked a lot about the youth? the youth gave great support to you? in what way is your government working to solve the problem in a structural way? what i mean, i want to go punctually, that these young people, many of them because of poverty, are co-opted by these narco-criminal narco-criminal gangs by Fito?
Others, but there are several things that happen there. First, they do not have opportunities, there is no real social assistance, we are implementing this with the MIES, with the Ministry of Education. We are also identifying what they are, what is the real labor demand and in which careers to be able to offer young people opportunities.
Another very important issue is that part of this is because they have been used to the fact that nothing happens to them, that they are not prosecuted as terrorists in the crime of terrorism.
That changes quite a few things and if it will be analyzed on a case by case basis in the Court. To see how they will be treated, but it is already being seen. A different procedure, a different action of the Armed Forces, from what used to happen before, they were caught and they were dead laughing.
Now they are asking to be covered by the Geneva Treaty and human rights, that they are poor victims.
Why? Because things are changing, then too?
We should implement again the fear of going to prison, these are people who had already lost their way. The fear of going to jail, like, well, I’m out of here. Exactly, I’m out of here or inside, I’m protected, everything is fine. Now things are going to change, the dynamic is going to change and the mental processing of that person is going to change. They say well, and so RO I am no longer going, like on vacation to jail, now I have it, I have it bad if I do a terrorist act, I am going to be prosecuted as a terrorist, not as someone who is providing weapons or something like that. How to clean up this corruption, for example, these organized crime is infiltrated in all Executive, legislative, judicial and it is in everything and it is against all of that.
Speaker 1 48:58
What is the country is facing?
Well, first of all, issues such as the consultation, there are key questions that. With I am sure that the vast majority of the country will be in favor. That is 1-2 That the people who attend these terrorist groups are part of the terrorist organization. That has not happened before. It had not happened before in the last governments had declared terrorism. Ecuador is under attack by terrorism, so they did not say who, did not say which groups, did not say where they operated.
They were not identified. So you cannot have something that is ethereal. There it is like a cloud, ghosts, a ghost that you don’t know how to identify. Now we know by name and surname which are the leaders, which are the groups that are there. They are part of terrorist groups, we approve in a State. Of non-international armed conflict, which means that the procedure of the Armed Forces is going to be much tougher.
Speaker 1 50:04
More drastic. By the way, Mr. President, Jonathan Huaman asks from the chat: Good morning, the military police, intelligence know where the terrorist groups are located, why don’t they go directly to their zone and wage war there? Zones of Guayaquil, Santo Domingo, Machala, Quevedo, Manta, are the prisoners still with cell phones sending videos, how do they have access to electricity? They are not supposed to have electricity for these purposes yet Peña. Worse signal, you say, please, what is your answer?
First we carry. 20 hours. In this state. you have already learned more than 70 people involved in these terrorist groups? Some high value targets. Yes, it has been done, yes we are going to the places if we are doing operations there in the issue of prisons, we are disconnecting the signal.
Also, like electricity. There are certain prisons, which are more difficult to do. Why? Because they are very close to the population. So, if we blocks the signal, there it blocks the signal of 50,000 inhabitants that are around, and that is a violation of rights as well. To leave without electricity, to leave without water, to leave without cellular signal 50000 people, a perfect case is the Inca prison, the littoral penitentiary, are very close to the urban area, so we are working with the Armed Forces to take away the capacity of these groups inside the prisons, if they are, if they are doing it. We have been working for 20 hours with this decree and we are going to continue working.
Speaker 1 51:56
Tania Zambrano from Manabí, asks: Mr. President, greetings from Manabí. Is there any collaboration between the United States and Ecuador to address security issues?
Yes. If there is one is the exchange of Ukrainian and Russian scrap for 200000000 dollars’ worth of modern equipment. That’s something that we’ll finish completing by the end of this month. That is an assistance from there for further assistance.
We had a meeting with the Ambassador Fitzpatrick from the United States, yesterday afternoon, after the decree, and he said that in a few days, two, 3 days, they will come with an assistance package to Ecuador. They are evaluating it. As I say, we have been in a state of non-international armed conflict for 20 hours. They have to follow their procedures and then provide international aid and assistance.
Speaker 1 52:49
Here we have a question, he says, what are the guarantees that the kidnapped guards inside prison have? Because in the Ambato jail, is the third day that they have been held, nothing has been officially known or pronounced.
We have pronounced it officially, that we declare a state of war, practically that is an official declaration. We are not going to negotiate with terrorists that in a non-international armed conflict. It is part of the same conflict, it is the ugly part of the conflict and we are at this moment with the Armed Forces doing everything possible to recover the hostages.
It is not a matter of time. Yes, I would like to give a message to the nation and especially to the micro-entrepreneurs, those who manage the micro-economy, that they are scared, that we cannot go out, that we cannot sell. I know it would be crazy to ask how long it is going to last, that would be crazy, but as a message of encouragement, yes. An economic reactivation plan is also being prepared because this state of war, as you have indicated, is going to affect and is already affecting the micro-economy, especially the small ones, the people who work day by day and make a living day by day with whatever they sell during the day.
That is what I wanted to ask, yes, it is a concern. The urgent economic laws that we are applying and that we are submitting to the Assembly are a great part of that and also thinking of those same micro-entrepreneurs, thinking of the shopkeeper, the owner of the neighborhood pharmacy, the one who has his small commercial establishment, the one who has his small food store. We are thinking of them. Why? Because we do not want them to continue to be vaccinated, we do not want them to continue to be deprived of the possibility of growing, we do not want them to continue to be intimidated and threatened on a daily basis, as is happening today in a large part of the country. So we must clean up quickly and effectively so that they can operate without the problems they have today.
Speaker 1 55:09
Yalal dubois asks: , Mr. President, my concern is of stray bullets. Yesterday a father died and a student was shot by a lost bullet. And of course it is a situation of the civilian population. Will you intervene and retaliate in the prisons to save the penitentiary guides same way you did with TC?
Speaker 2 55:36
No, in the case of TC was the police who intervene. In the case of what is happening with the guards inside the prisions, is The Armed Forces that have to act in a different way. Protecting the lives of the penitentiary guides, but. The way in which they are confronted is already with another procedure and it is under another legal framework.
We must have the support of the Armed Forces because we live in a case of emergency. And the Armed Forces have to act against these military targets, likewise, as people like the prision guides, people kidnapped in other places we are doing everything possible and impossible to bring them all back safe and sound, but we cannot stop a war because of that. Because the State is now at war in all the provinces.
Speaker 1 56:41
One last question, Mr. President, you are supporting the Free Trade Agreement with China, it would generate many jobs, you say, protecting the Ecuadorian labor force.
Of course, it is in the International Relations Commission. It has already been voted on. What I understand, what I have been told from the legislative side is that all the benches are in favor, except for the Revolucion Ciudadana Party ( Correas party). For the Free Trade Agreement with the Chinese.
Speaker 2: Mr. President, and just the last short one question, yesterday, María Paula Romo, José Serrano, Jan Topic through social media offered their support. Would you be willing to accept the support of these politicians of different tendencies?
Which politician? The one who came fourth in the last elections that has not had any political trajectory nor any war experience? nor has he been part of the Armed Forces? Nor has he any experience in confronting terrorist groups.
As for the rest, I trust in the Armed Forces, I trust in International Cooperation. From María Paula Romo, and Mr. José Serrano, I think we already have enough problems with him and we have had them for a long time. Part of the problems we have today is because of him whe he was in government in the past.
Maria Paula Romocan say whatever she wants to offer whatever she wants, but I see her a little bit changeable. Five days ago she was tearing apart all the actions of this Government, she said that there was no Fenix plan, even though she said it for 7 months in a row, now that she sees that 95 % of the population is in agreement with this last decree, they all want to jump on the bandwagon, it is fine if they want to support politically that she tells her bench to support in the resolution, that they vote in favor of the law, no more blackouts, that they vote as well.
In the measures and laws for the benefit of the country. It is essential that they do it in their own way, but today, the one who is governing is Daniel Noboa and those who are in the action procedure are the Armed Forces. If they want to win an election, let them continue participating and we will see.
Speaker 1 59:07
Mr. President, thank you very much for your communication, I repeat, I am a believer. What I ask God and I pray that he gives you wisdom. We Ecuadorians are unite and that we pray to have better days. Best of luck.
Thank you very much.