Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso’s times in office might soon be coming to an end. Approval rating of Guillermo Lasso is already under 15%. And, now another corruption scandal has rocked Guillermo Lasso government.
This is a story of Ecuador, which has been a weak link in Latin America’s war on drugs. A story about Ecuador’s Lasso illegal coalition with Albanian mafias.
Corruption scandal of Guillermo Lasso
A news outlet in Ecuador, La Posta, has exposed the Lasso’s administration involvement with a drug trafficking network. The outlet said that recent report by Ecuadorian National Police’s Anti-Narcotics Unit demonstrated the close relationship between the Ecuadorian government and a drug trafficking network. The network is led by Danilo Carrera, President Lasso’s brother-in-law. Carrera’s friend Ruben Cherrez has also been mentioned.
According to the report, the government intended to destroy this document. It showed Carrera and his companion Ruben Cherrez met with the Albanian mafia. Also, that they had connections to a business that appeared to be a cover for the sale of drugs.
The investigating team’s leader, journalist Andersson Boscan, declared that the 145-page report, to which he had access, will be given to the relevant authorities, courts, the National Assembly, and the media.
These fresh disclosures add to earlier ones about the alleged presence of a corruption network in publicly traded energy sector corporations, or the “Encuentro Case.”
Lasso’s fight for revival
Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has been struggling politically. His approval ratings are below 20% and his weak position in Congress has only exacerbated it.
He’s looking for methods to recover from the weak approval ratings. He even attempted an eight-question referendum on February 5th. However, it was rejected by the general public. He also tried joining Pacific Alliance, to boost his popularity. The alliance, a free-trade association established in 2011 by Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile, provided Lasso with the greatest immediate potential.
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However, nothing is working for him. The La Posta’s controversy further erodes the legitimacy of the government, which already suffered a referendum blow. It also lost several mayoral and prefectural seats.
A number of voices are advocating for President Lasso’s resignation, as well as for an impeachment trial, a recall, or the so-called crossed death.
A number of documents and audio recordings that connected the president’s brother-in-law, Danilo Carrera, with acts of corruption and drug trafficking, were made public. Rather than coming out clean, Lasso has threatened the outlet that exposed his government’s involvement with drug mafias.
Lasso said, “A digital media has insinuated that the President is allegedly involved in a supposed network of corruption. These characters have attacked my integrity and that of my family. And I am not going to allow that.”
There’s a Sanskrit verse, “Vinash Kale Viprit Buddhi” which means when one’s doom approaches, they start to act foolishly. The situation applies to Lasso aptly.
Ecuador is the hub of Albanian mafia. Drug, human, and weapon trafficking are all common activities for the Albanian mafia.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc), Ecuador was third worldwide in terms of the amount of cocaine intercepted in 2022, behind only Colombia and the United States (Unodc).
The findings show how Ecuador transitioned from being viewed as a drug transit country to being a hub for the distribution and export of illegal substances.
But where did Albanian mafia come to Ecuador?
From the 1990s, Ecuador has recorded a migration of Albanians. They have primarily emigrated to coastal cities. Several Albanians have developed both legitimate and illicit companies in the nation, including drug and weapon trafficking and money laundering, among other crimes.
They have found Ecuador to be appealing for the export of drugs because it borders Colombia which is renowned for Cocaine. Moreover, for the export of weapons, due to its proximity to Peru. In order to acquire cash in a covert manner and have the ability to ship or fly the drug to Eastern European nations, it was regarded as a logistics hub in this manner.
Authorities also released most notorious Albanian cocaine trafficker Dritan Rexhepi discretely last year.
The connections of Ecuador’s government with Albanian mafias have uncovered the major stakeholders behind the Ecuador’s crisis. Lasso is one of the region’s few current centre-right leaders. It considers US as an ally. United States has also supported his government and has given several aids to the country.
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There are questions as to why the US is aiding Guillermo Lasso government which is drowned in corruption scandal. Critics say that US benefits from the drug and weapons trade and Lasso covertly helps Washington.
The Lasso government has weakened Latin America’s war on drugs. Not only, it has increased illegal drug trade in its own country but in the regions as well. It won’t be far-fetched to say that US arms and drug lobby has hands behind this.
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