In Ecuador and Chile, two of Latin America's most trusted police institutions have been hit by recent corruption scandals, a reminder that even the most highly-regarded security forces in the region are far from perfect.
A judge in Ecuador ordered Vice President Jorge Glas detained as an investigation looks into whether he took bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, in what could be the latest example of the remarkable success of the corporation's massive international bribery scheme.
Hundreds of indigenous people, including children, across Ecuador are being trafficked each year but few victims come forward because of shame and fear and little is known about the true scale of the problem, campaigners say.
Ecuador's geographic location and other environmental characteristics have long provided incentives for transnational organized crime to exploit the country as a drug transshipment point and a logistical safe haven. Once considered one of the most insecure countries in the region, Ecuador has succeeded in tackling certain manifestations of violence in recent years. But drug trafficking through the country is on the rise, paving the way for possible growing insecurity further down the road.