ICAIE Senior Advisor’s Op-Ed in the Miami Herald: Ecuador at Center of Latin America’s slide into Authoritarianism and Violence
Find a new op-ed by ICAIE Senior Advisor Doug Farah in the Miami Herald, 21 August 2023.
Ecuador will not be the only democratic U.S. ally to become a criminalized state and fall prey to the authoritarian wave crushing the Americas. This is exacerbated by the subversive and predatory activities by China, Russia, Iran and other malign networks operating more brazenly across the region in the absence of a strong U.S. presence.
The unprecedented political violence in historically tranquil Ecuador — including the brazen assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio on Aug. 9 — is a harbinger of rising instability across Latin America, driven by expanding illicit markets protected by ideologically agnostic authoritarian leaders allied with transnational criminal organizations.
The International Coalition Against Illicit Economies’ April 2023 policy brief, “Emerging Transnational Organized Crime Threats in Latin America: Converging Criminalized Markets and Illicit Vectors” identified Ecuador as a key hemispheric center of gravity where the rule of law is collapsing, democratic institutions are under assault and new regional and extra-regional criminal groups exercise expanding control.
As we wrote: “The multi-billion dollar illicit economies across Latin America, long centered on the cocaine and narcotics trade but diversifying to new commodities and activities, are undergoing a volatile, profound reordering and restructuring, with long-term strategic repercussions in the years to come for the United States and its key allies in the hemisphere. . . . .
. . . . This is exacerbated by the subversive and predatory activities by China, Russia, Iran and other malign networks operating more brazenly across the region in the absence of a strong U.S. presence.
As Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of the U.S. Southern Command noted, Latin America is “under assault from a host of cross-cutting, transboundary challenges that directly threaten our own homeland.” Without significantly more U.S. attention, creativity and seriousness of purpose, these trends may soon be irreversible. Ecuador will not be the only democratic U.S. ally to become a criminalized state and fall prey to the authoritarian wave crushing the Americas.
Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article278459114.html#storylink=cpy