Ecuadorian security forces patrol around the main square and the presidential palace after Ecuador's president, Daniel Noboa, declared the country in a state of "internal armed conflict" and ordered the army to carry out military operations against powerful gangs of drug traffickers in the country, in the center of Quito on January 9, 2024. (Credit: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) ––

 The Government of Ecuador will maintain the presence of the military in the streets and prisons after the end of the state of emergency decreed in January due to the situation of violence that the country is going through, the Government Minister said this Monday, Monica Palencia.

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The official reported that they will not extend the measure, which will end this April 8, since the Constitution prevents its extension beyond three months.

“The state of emergency, by constitutional provision, cannot have an additional extension. The state of exception is going to end because our mother law constitutionally orders it,” said Palencia, also in charge of the Ministry of the Interior.

Palencia indicated that the Government will keep the military and police in conflict zones and that other legal tools are being explored to establish clear provisions for the public force without the need for a state of emergency.

“We are going to have answers from a legal perspective. I have insisted that there are other legal security measures, but we are reviewing the constitutionality. There are possibilities and other ways to resolve the issues to continue with what we must continue under another legal framework, which is the presence of the military on the streets, in prisons and wherever they are necessary,” he pointed out.

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The minister said that, for the mobilization of the Armed Forces, the Government has the support of a ruling from the Constitutional Court issued on March 21, which establishes that a declaration of state of emergency is not required for the military to act in streets.

The Constitutional Court established in its opinion: “The intervention of the Armed Forces to guarantee sovereignty and territorial integrity is one of its ordinary powers. In the event of an armed conflict, the Armed Forces can mobilize and intervene, in accordance with the legal system, without the need for a declaration of a state of emergency.”

In addition, Minister Palencia announced that in the coming days President Daniel Noboa will sign a decree that will determine the regulatory framework for the military and police to continue strengthening security in the South American country.

To finance the measures involved in the internal armed conflict, the Noboa Government raised the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15% temporarily starting April 1 and to 13% permanently. These resources, according to the Government, will allow investment in greater security and equipment for the public force.

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Ecuador has been under a declaration of internal armed conflict since January 9, when violence intensified in the country and the Government decided to declare 22 organized crime organizations as terrorists, and fight against them through the mobilization of the Armed Forces. and the Police.

EcuadorState of exceptionInsecuritymilitary