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News > Latin America

US Ambassador Withdraws Visas From ‘Narco Generals’ in Ecuador

  • U.S. ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick.

    U.S. ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick. | Photo: Twitter/ @PrensaDelBanano

Published 16 December 2021

Michael Fitzpatrick's statements appeared as acts of policy interference that did not follow the appropriate diplomatic channels.

In an interview published on Monday, the U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick expressed his "concern" about drug trafficking activities in this South American country and communicated the decision to cancel US visas to 19 police generals whom he described as "narco generals. ”.


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He did not give the names of the generals allegedly linked to illegal activities, arguing that they were under investigation. Subsequently, President Guillermo Lasso’s administration asked the United States to release the names of the officers, but did not make any diplomatic observations to Fitzpatrick's statements.

Interior Minister Alexandra Vela asked 19 police generals to make their positions available for the Ecuadorean President to decide whether he dismissed them or not. She also demanded that the Comptroller General begin a special investigation of the generals' bank accounts and assets.

"Drug trafficking is a serious threat to society. I will not allow any possibility of covering up bad elements in the institution," Vela said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy withdrew the visa to four generals among whom was Victor Arauz, who had recently been reinstated to the Police thanks to a court order in his favor.

His lawyer stated that the withdrawal of his visa was the consequence of a political retaliation since Arauz had denounced the falsification of documents tolerated by the National Police Commander Tanya Varela during the promotion of another officer.

The controversy over the probity of the Ecuadorian police occurs at a time when the Lasso administration tries to contain the mafias that are directing criminal activities from prisons, where over 300 people have died as a result of disputes between gangs in this year. The U.S. Ambassador's statements caused a stir in Ecuadorian public opinion because they appeared as acts of interference that did not follow the appropriate diplomatic channels.

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