China Loans Ecuador $240 Mn for Security Program

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Ecuador announced that it will receive a loan of $240 million from China for its new citizen security program, pointing to the Asian giant’s role in Latin American security.

As part of its drive to increase citizen security, Ecuador is in the process of constructing 16 points throughout the country that will serve as response centers for the emergency services. The project, named ECU 911, will be set up using a $240 million investment loan from China, EFE reported.

Two of the centers are already in operation — one in the southern city of Guayaquil, another in Cuenca — with the rest expected to be running by the end of 2013.

Under ECU 911, 3,000 surveillance cameras will also be installed in various parts of the country, and there will be new electronic surveillance systems on the border to alert Ecuadorean authorities if anyone crossing has an international arrest warrant against them, said Security Minister Homero Arellano.

InSight Crime Analysis

As Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Richard Weitz notes, China’s military and security involvement in Latin America has been reserved to avoid alarming the United States, which remains the biggest regional funder for security.

Also, unlike the United States, China has no notable domestic drug market that is being fed by Latin American gangs.

However, there is evidence of China’s growing interest in Latin American security. Ecuador approved the purchase of Chinese radar antennae for its border with Colombia in 2009, while Bolivia bought six Chinese aircraft last year to use in its anti-narcotics efforts. Venezuela has purchased both radars and military aircraft from China in recent years and a number of Latin American countries, including Brazil and Colombia, have sent officials to military schools in the Asian country.

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