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After making green pledges, Ecuador plans to expand oil on indigenous lands
Gabriela Ruiz Agila @GabyRuizMx

Nema Grefa (left) and Andrés Ruíz (right), president and vice president of the Sapara Nation of Ecuador. Press conference on Tuesday May 25 outside the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador. They denounced the handover of his ancestral territory to an organization that they consider "illegitimate", associated with Andes Petroleum. Photos: Ramiro Aguilar, Andrés Yépez, Josué Araujo. Photo: Ramiro Aguilar Villamarín @miro.a.villamarin (Ig)


2021, the year with the most deaths of Ecuadorians on the U.S.-Mexico border

Between January and July 2021 alone, more than 62,000 Ecuadorians were detained for irregular entry into the United States. Photo: EFE

Ecuador closes a tragic year in relation to migration. In the last three years, 62 Ecuadorians have lost their lives on their way to the United States, most of them in 2021. They were mainly from the provinces of Azuay and Chimborazo. What are the most used and dangerous crossing points for Ecuadorians?
Police entered the Penitentiary 7 hours after the violence began; massacres have left more than 300 people dead

This AP image shows a dead prisoner on the roof of the Penitenciaría del Litoral. Photo: AP

This is the fourth massacre so far in 2021. Guillermo Lasso has called on the Church and activist Nelsa Curbelo to open a dialogue inside the prisons. A desperate inmate narrated this hell and was the only source of information until the morning after the authorities reacted.This is the fourth massacre so far in 2021. Guillermo Lasso has called on the Church and activist Nelsa Curbelo to open a dialogue inside the prisons. A desperate inmate narrated this hell and was the only source of information until the morning after the authorities reacted.
New wave of migration to the U.S. leaves thousands of Ecuadorians deported
Manuel Novik

Thousands of Ecuadorians arrived by plane to Mexico before the imposition of the visa and then had to cross by land to the United States. Photos: Courtesy Pamela Cevallos / Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A Mexican army soldier attempts to detain a group of irregular migrants at a point on the border with the United States. Photo: AFP

Human trafficking mafias have "generated" billions in 2021
Redacción Plan V

This is part of the largest shark fin smuggling seized in Hong Kong in May 2020 and was shipped from Guayaquil, Ecuador. There were 26 tons, 30,500 sharks killed for their fins and the fine imposed Photo: taken from the South China Morning Post, photo by Nora Tam.

Meet the Assemblymen who oppose the protection of sharks and exotic animals
Franklin Vega

The increase of Ecuadorian migrants traveling with children has caught the attention of authorities and tour operators in Mexico. Photo: EFE

7 out of 10 Ecuadorians who have passed through Mexico have been detained
Redacción Plan V

Police found 9.6 tons of cocaine in a warehouse in Guayaquil, Ecuador, which had the facade of a water bottling plant. Photos: Ecuador Police

The story behind the largest cocaine seizure in Ecuador
Police are still investigating to which organization the 9.6 tons of cocaine found in a warehouse in Guayaquil belonged, but have advanced that its destination was Mexico or the United States. The place had the name of a Mexican water bottling company. In a previous operation, drugs had already been found in one of the trucks that had as a front the delivery of bottled water.

A white truck with the façade of a water delivery truck was the first clue that led to the seizure of the largest cocaine shipment ever found in Ecuador. Last July 23, three men were driving in that vehicle in the Los Vergeles sector, in Guayaquil, but when they saw the police presence they tried to escape. The police pursued them until the truck entered a warehouse. The agents had already received confidential information that the truck was being used to transport drugs and was being guarded by a black car.

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Ecuador: Anatomy of organized crime and its actors
Ecuador is the country with the highest Crime Index in South America, second only to Colombia. This report portrays in its crude dimension the impact of criminal markets and actors in Ecuadorian society and the capacity of institutions to deal with it.

The Global Organized Crime Index assesses the levels of organized crime in 194 countries around the world, as well as their resilience to organized criminal activity. The Index, which consists of two composite metrics, ranks countries on the basis of their levels of crime, with a score from 1 to 10 (lowest to highest level of crime), and on the basis of their resilience to organized crime, from 1 to 10 (lowest to highest level of resilience).

Malaysia is the world's new garbage dump, after China closed its doors to U.S. plastic waste. The image shows plastic waste arriving at its main port. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP/The Guardian

The U.S. sends more than 100 containers per month with its plastic waste to Ecuador
Since 2019, Plan V followed the leads left by a report in The Guardian on the shipment of plastic waste from the United States to developing countries with poor waste management. The data revealed that Ecuador has become the third country in Latin America that imports the most of this waste, which also arrives dirty or mixed. It also ranks thirteenth among the countries that import the most waste from California. This is the U.S. state that sends the most waste in the world. Behind closed doors, there are no controls, despite existing regulations. The authorities have no answers and have given contradictory figures.

Read PART TWO of this investigation here: Thousands of tons of dirty plastic waste from the U.S. are washed in Ecuador.

Published on 2021-01-25

Police recaptured this morning 65 prisoners who escaped from Latacunga prison. Photo: Ecuador Police

Chronicle of a new massacre in Ecuador's prisons
In the Penitentiary, 54 women were taken hostage while they were on visiting hours. According to the Governor of Cotopaxi, there is great destruction inside the Latacunga prison. The Ministry of Government confirmed that a policewoman was raped in Latacunga. So far, 22 prisoners have died. President Guillermo Lasso declared an emergency in the prison system.

Photographs and videos: Luis Argüello. PlanV

The Coca river is in shock, its communities without water and its problems are being ignored
PlanV reveals -with impressive images- the impacts of erosion in the communities settled along the Coca River. But also the neglect of these inhabitants who, a year after the largest oil spill in the last 15 years, suffer from water shortages and hunger.

Published on 2021-04-14
During the day, Sardinas seems to be a community of only children. Dozens of them play in the center of town while waiting for their parents to finish their chores in the fields. They hang from a tree, others kick a ball. They walk through the streets, disheveled, barefoot and many of them hungry.

Latacunga is one of the three maximum security prisons in the country. But like other prisons it has many vulnerabilities. File: PlanV

In-depth look at a prison and its crimes, according to a former prison leader
A former prisoner from the Latacunga and Turi prisons describes the management of these prisons by the most powerful prisoners and the corruption that, according to his experience, reaches police and prison guards. He also explains how crimes committed inside and outside the prison are planned in these centers.

The inhabitants of Pacto state that their main livelihood is agriculture, specifically the cultivation of sugar cane and the production of panela.
Photos: Luis Argüello / PlanV

Panela vs. mining: the hidden battle in northwestern Quito
In Pacto, the community members have been holding a sit-in for more than 80 days to prevent the removal of gold-bearing material. They are asking the authorities to revoke the mining concessions and to seize dozens of sacks of mineralized stones that, they claim, are in these camps. They prefer agriculture, especially sugarcane cultivation and panela production, to be the main livelihood of these families. One of the mining companies defends itself.

An unknown battle is being fought in the northwest of Quito. Hundreds of Pacto families dedicated to sugarcane cultivation and panela production fear that their livelihoods will be affected by mining. For more than 80 days, the communities of this rural parish have been on vigil. They have organized to prevent vehicles from leaving the area with rocks extracted from the mines.

Jorge Luis Zambrano, alias Rasquiña or JL, while leaving Latacunga prison, on June 6, 2020.

Rasquiña's master stroke in the justice system
The pre-release of Jorge Luis Zambrano, alias Rasquiña and leader of Los Choneros, had a key moment: the decision by Judge Jose Tamayo Arana to reduce his sentence from 20 to 8 years. But neither the Prosecutor General's Office nor the Judiciary complained in time about this unusual decision. Both judiciaries refused an interview with Plan V on this issue. On June 18, the judiciary issued a preventive detention order against Judge Tamayo, 16 months after his controversial sentence. Zambrano was killed on December 28 by a hitman.

Updated as of December 28, 2020
How does a convicted felon go from 20 to eight years in prison? The answer was found by Jorge Luis Zambrano Gonzalez, alias Rasquiña and leader of Los Choneros, and Judge Jose Tamayo Arana. The magistrate, who worked in the Criminal Judicial Unit No. 2 of Guayaquil, is the author of a controversial sentence that benefited Rasquiña so that he could be released from prison early, last June.

Before being extradited to the United States, the drug lord ordered the killing in Ecuador of several officials and police officers who managed his capture. Photo: EFE

The boatman from Manta who made US$200 million in crime
The Manabí drug lord, better known as the "Ecuadorian Pablo Escobar," is a key player in the conflict on the northern border. His capture in Colombia and extradition to the United States unleashed a war between illegal groups for control of the business, in the heat of which alias 'Guacho' rose to prominence. A year after his arrest, Plan V presents this profile of 'Gerald', who had assassination offices in three provinces and offered money to kill high-ranking officials and police officers for the operations against him.

Published on 2018-04-16

This is one of the few images of Telmo Castro when he was captured for the second time in 2013.

The strange judicial history of Telmo Castro
Plan V reviewed the three judicial processes that were opened against former Army Captain Telmo Castro. Two of them are for drug trafficking, and in both he received judicial favors. But in the sentences there are surprising episodes of how Sinaloa has been operating in Ecuador for several years.


Published on 2018-12-17