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Automedicación y pandemia, combinación letal en Latinoamérica
Carmina de la Luz/SciDevNet

El desabastecimiento de fármacos para tratar enfermedades crónicas es otro efecto, a veces invisibilizado, de la automedicación indiscriminada. Crédito de la imagen: Minette Lontsie/Wikimedia Commons, bajo licencia Creative Commons 4.0/SciDevNet

 

Chronicle of a new massacre in Ecuador's prisons

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

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.
The Coca river is in shock, its communities without water and its problems are being ignored

Photographs and videos: Luis Argüello. PlanV

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.
In-depth look at a prison and its crimes, according to a former prison leader
Redacción Plan V

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

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
Redacción Plan V

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

Rasquiña's master stroke in the justice system
Redacción Plan V

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
Redacción Plan V

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.

ACCORDING TO THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, THESE DOCUMENTS PROVE IRREGULARITIES IN THE PRE-RELEASE OF TELMO CASTRO

Published on 2018-12-17

This small plane, captured in Guatemala in October 2017, left Ecuador loaded with 382 packages of drugs. The aircraft had a malfunction and fell in Jutiapa. The pilots were Mexican. Photo: Prensa Libre, Hugo Oliva

Sinaloa and its links to Ecuador's justice system
A prosecutor in Manabí sought to benefit a drug trafficking organization linked to the Sinaloa cartel. To do so, she changed the crime and the defendants sought to take advantage of the abbreviated procedure to reduce their sentence to less than three years. This was the same method used by the gang of alias Gerald, known as the Ecuadorian Pablo Escobar, also with links to Sinaloa. Along with the prosecutor, a judge and two judicial officials are being prosecuted. But her trial has been delayed and sent from one court to another.

The clues left by two light aircraft
The seizure of a small plane in Guatemala was the first link in a series of investigations that led to a drug trafficking organization linked to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. The gang sent large quantities of drugs to Mexico and Central America from Manabí, El Oro and Guayas. But a prosecutor, public officials and a judge were also involved in the network.

3.2 tons of drugs mixed with animal feed in Guayaquil seaport was the last major capture of 2019. Photo: El Universo

The 'Ndrangheta also operates in Ecuador's ports
'Ndrangheta is the mafia of Calabria, the southern tip of the Italian peninsula, the largest criminal organization in the world, and according to investigators consulted by Plan V, it also operates in Ecuador's ports. The Calabrians control the importation of cocaine from Latin America to Europe, using legal fronts and perishable products such as Ecuadorian shrimp.

On October 22, nine Ecuadorians and two foreigners were arrested in an operation and 446 kilos of cocaine that was destined for Mexico were seized. Photos: Antinarcotics Police.

Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG): the Mexican drug cartel that has taken a foothold in Ecuador
The discovery of a clandestine airstrip, more than 400 kilos of drugs and 11 detainees were the result of a recent operation in Manabí. One of those apprehended is a Mexican allegedly emissary of the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (CJNG). Although Ecuadorian authorities have not provided details, the DEA has recorded the presence of this criminal organization in the country since 2009.

The need to make transparent the millions of dollars that the extractive industry moves is a challenge EITI in Ecuador.

The complex (and obscure) mining and oil taxation system
The EITI initiative proposes greater transparency on tax collection from extractive industries as well as on the destination of these resources. In the Ecuadorian case, there are a number of reservations about company taxes and little information available from the Internal Revenue Service.

Cleanup of one of the spills that occurred in the community of 18 de Noviembre, in Shushufindi, Sucumbíos. This image was taken during the visit of a commission of assembly members to the area last December. Photo: Municipal Autonomous Government of Shushufindi.

Two oil spills occur every week in Ecuador
Between 2015 and June 2021, 899 oil spills have been recorded. In 2020, the frequency was almost two spills per week, an increase from 2013 when there was the last official information. PlanV makes a count, in a timeline, of the worst oil disasters but also of those minor events that have affected the Amazon and the Coast through which the pipelines pass.

On June 26, Ecuador celebrated 49 years of having transported for the first time a barrel of oil through the Trans Ecuadorian Pipeline. Since then, the country's economy has been anchored to oil production. But this bonanza has also meant serious environmental impacts. In Ecuador, during 2020, there were an average of almost two oil spills every week, according to official figures from the Ministry of Environment accessed by PlanV.

Last May, there was a mobilization of Hanrine company workers against the National Police Command in Quito. The company has accused this institution and the Ministry of Government of not opening the public access road to one of the concessions, which is occupied by the inhabitants of La Merced de Buenos Aires, in Imbabura.

Ecuador: the war for the Imbabura copper belt
An invisible war has been unleashed over mining concessions full of copper and gold in the province of Imbabura. In the middle are the Australian Hancock (Hanrine in Ecuador) and the Chilean state-owned Codelco, considered the largest mining companies in the world. This battle apparently involved high authorities of Lenín Moreno's government, the National Police and other justice entities.

 

Large mining projects such as Cascabel coexist in the country with small artisanal mineral exploitations.  Photo: Courtesy

 

EITI Ecuador and the challenge of making mining and oil transparent
Information on the details of the extractive industry in Ecuador is still at a superficial level, especially in relation to mining, where there is disorder and opacity. Ecuador joined the EITI standard that seeks to make transparent the figures, contracts and shareholders of large mining and oil companies in the world and the process has started. However, there are several complex legal and administrative challenges and expectations due to the change of government.

Cajas, from one of its highest points, Tres Cruces, at 4,150 meters above sea level. This is an ancient lake and moorland system where two of the four rivers that cross the city of Cuenca originate. It is a protected area and any type of mining is prohibited. Photos: Luis Argüello / PlanV

 

Cuenca: the popular vote that puts large-scale mining at risk
The struggle to defend water in Cuenca has been going on for decades. At the beginning it was only a matter of peasant and indigenous communities, but then the towns and cities joined in. Especially the young people. Now, it is a cultural and political issue that, after the anti-mining referendum, has generated an environmentalist shake-up, whose consequences are yet to be seen.

Illegal mining left a bare, pitted and contaminated mountain. The State -through its ministries of Energy and Environment- has not taken care of the environmental liabilities. Photos: Luis Argüello / PlanV

 

Terror in the illegal mines of Buenos Aires comes to light
Recent sentences describe the violence and executions that took place between armed groups for the control of illegal mines in the parish of La Merced de Buenos Aires. PlanV reconstructed these crimes with court documents and confidential sources. We went up to the Mina Vieja to collect shocking images with a drone.

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