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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Ecuador

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Ecuador, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e52482dc.html [accessed 1 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Ecuador's greatest counterterrorism and security challenge remained the presence of Colombian narcotics and criminal and terrorist groups in the extremely difficult terrain along its porous 450-mile border with Colombia. Ecuador continued its response to this threat, although it faced resource constraints and limited capabilities. The Correa Administration, while still maintaining that the Colombian conflict was mainly Colombia's responsibility, repeated its opposition to encroachments by armed groups across its borders and increased its military presence in the north to discourage incursions by these groups. Ecuador's security forces continued operations against Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) training and logistical resupply camps along the northern border.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: On November 22, an undetonated bomb was found in the office of the rector at the University of Guayaquil. The Popular Combatants Group (PCG), which had been dormant for the last few years, claimed responsibility for the bomb. The PCG said that it had placed the device in support of the leftist student movement University Students of Daniel Cuellar to influence the upcoming elections for the national Federation of University Students of Ecuador. The Daniel Cuellar movement disavowed the action and said it had no ties with the PCG. Other fragments of the PCG claimed the device was placed by "rightist" police forces to discredit the organization.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: Until September 7, 2010, Ecuadorean immigration officials allowed almost all travelers to enter the country for 90 days without a visa, including travelers from countries of concern for terrorism, drug smuggling, and illegal immigration, based on a visa-free travel policy enacted in June 2008. On September 7, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revised this policy to require that citizens from nine countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Somalia – obtain visas prior to entering the country. Active smuggling rings in Ecuador that focused on moving aliens continued to raise concerns about the transit of individuals with terrorism connections.

Ecuador's judicial institutions remained weak, susceptible to corruption, and heavily backlogged with pending cases. While the military and police made numerous arrests, the judicial system had a poor record of achieving convictions in all types of criminal cases.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Ecuador is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of South America (GAFISUD). In February, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) included Ecuador on the list of countries that pose a high-risk to the international financial system due to strategic anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance deficiencies. Following Ecuador's demonstration of a high level political commitment to work with FATF and GAFISUD to address these deficiencies in June, FATF moved Ecuador to the ongoing review list of countries that have developed a FATF action plan. On November 5, Ecuador's National Assembly voted to approve a bill reforming the existing anti-money laundering (AML) law. Ecuador's new AML law is the "Law of Prevention, Detection, and Eradication of the Crime of Money Laundering and the Financing of Crimes." The bill added an article to the Penal Code criminalizing the financing of any of the acts listed in the Penal Code's section under "Crimes of Sabotage and Terrorism." Ecuador is not yet a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence units, as terrorist finance legislation is a requirement for Egmont membership.

The Ecuadorean government sought to strengthen controls over money laundering through the Financial Intelligence Unit, established under a 2005 Money Laundering Law and further strengthened in the AML passed in November. This unit, which under the new law is now called the Financial Analysis Unit, continued to improve cooperation with the Anti-Narcotics Police Directorate's Financial Crimes Unit, the Superintendent of Banks, the Attorney General, the courts, and the private banker association to identify suspicious transactions and develop information for the prosecution of cases.

Regional and International Cooperation: Ecuador restored diplomatic relations with Colombia in December 2010, which it had broken in March 2008 following a Colombian military attack against a FARC camp inside Ecuadorean territory. Restoration of these ties permitted closer security and political cooperation on northern border issues.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Ecuador is working to improve access to government services and economic development in the northern border region to reduce the incentive to work with or for illegal armed groups.

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