Insecurity in Ecuador is hurting the Andean country's exports of products like bananas. According to the Corporation of Ecuadorean Exporter Associations (Cordex), at least 63 people linked to exports of bananas, shrimp and cacao were murdered by organized criminal groups in 2022, while another 1,500 have been injured during attacks.
"Insecurity worries us the most," Cordex President Jose Antonio Camposano stated last Wednesday. "Each year, the industries represented here spend at least $100 million on security ... because the state can't provide it to us.”
The government of President Guillermo Lasso did not respond to requests for comment. Lasso has been fighting to tackle rising crime and violence in the streets and in prisons which the government blames on drug trafficking gangs.
Contamination of shipping containers with drugs has increased 400% this year, with reports coming from ports all over Ecuador, said Ivan Ontaneda, president of the cacao exporters association.
"We're losing markets because customers who buy products abroad don't want to be involved in legal or criminal issues, which is what is happening with the container contamination in our supply chain," said Ontaneda.