International Assessment and Strategy Center: Ecuador at Risk – Drugs, Thugs, Guerrillas, and the Citizens’ Revolution

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The report, published January 2010, is by Douglas Farah and Glenn R. Simpson, senior fellows at the International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC). It looks at the challenges facing Ecuador, from money laundering and the presence of organized criminal groups to allegations of corruption within the government. The report examines the factors that lead to the election of President Rafael Correa, and at what has happened to his “Citizens’ Revolution.” The authors travelled to the country to carry out field research including interviews with Ecuadorean authorities, and with groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC).

From the introduction:

Many of the underlying issues of structural corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering and the presence of the FARC predate the Correa administration by many years. Ecuador’s geographic position has also made it a vulnerable and attractive crossroads for transnational non?state armed groups. It has a porous and difficult to patrol border with Colombia (with a decades?long internal conflict among several different groups and home to the world’s cocaine trade) and an equally?difficult border with Peru, (with its Marxist?led insurgency and coca cultivation problems). Ecuador’s decision to adopt the U.S. dollar as its official currency in 2000 also created numerous new vulnerabilities for the state and advantages to criminal organizations.

These factors, taken together with the changing internal situation in Colombia and the expanding influence of the Mexican drug cartels have, over the past three years, helped turn Ecuador into an important and growing center of operation for transnational organized criminal gangs. This poses a significant threat not only to the Ecuadorean state but all of Latin America and the United States.

Douglas Farah is an IASC Senior Fellow, in Financial Investigations and Transparency. Farah specializes in research and writing on terror finance, armed groups and stateless regions. A veteran investigator with more than 20 years experience, Farah is a consultant on terror finance to various European and U.S. government departments and agencies as well as the United Nations Criminal Investigative Unit, Bosnia.

Glenn R. Simpson has 20 years of experience investigating financial crime, from the savings and loan and BCCI scandals of the 1980s to the 2008 collapse of Wall Street. His specialties include money laundering, tax havens and offshore banking, political corruption, terrorist financing, sanctions, transnational organized crime, bribery by multinational companies, and bank, tax and securities fraud. In addition to his long tenure in the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal, he was also stationed in Brussels, Belgium and has reported throughout the Middle East, Europe and the Caribbean.

(Information on the authors was taken directly from IASC’s website)

Read the full report here.

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