Former Colombian Paramilitaries Seek To Control Towns In Ecuador

By Dialogo
August 10, 2010

The key moment in which to clip the wings of this horrible criminal machine is now and in a conclusive way, be they guerrilleros* or paramilitary they are all the same pestilence with a different name, if they don’t stop them now a good many innocents Ecuadorian lives will end up being sacrificed if these groups are allowed to grow more roots, since they are a very antisocial and delinquent plague, look at the situation in Mexico and Columbia. Groups that originated following the disarmament of paramilitaries in Colombia are seeking to take control of Ecuadorean towns along the border in order to expand their drug-trafficking activities, a high-ranking Ecuadorean police commander claimed in an interview published Sunday in Quito.

The Ecuadorean director of Police Intelligence, Fabián Solano, said that he was referring to the Aguilas Negras [‘Black Eagles’] gang, which originated after the demobilization of 31,000 paramilitaries belonging to the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC, extreme right-wing) between 2003 and 2006 and which is made up of a number of former combatants.

“These groups have ties to drug trafficking and are trying to take power in some regions, as happened in Colombia,” Solano told the Quito daily El Comercio.

The officer indicated that this organization and other armed organizations present along the 750-km border between the two countries also “devote themselves to extortion, crime, and demanding ‘vaccines’ (protection money) from Ecuadoreans who have businesses in border provinces such as Carchi, Sucumbíos, and Esmeraldas.”

The Ecuadorean authorities have also detected these groups paying “exorbitant” sums to lease rural property the location of which facilitates the production and trafficking of drugs from Colombia to Peru.

“The other thing that has an influence is the threats and extortion of which (the owners of these properties) are the object. Then they all keep quiet,” he added.

At the same time, Solano affirmed that the drug-trafficking networks in Ecuador “have some relationship” with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.

In this regard, he denied that in his country there are “facilities” for narcotics trafficking, after emphasizing that so far this year, ten tons of drugs and two submarines have been seized from organized crime.