Yesterday, President Rafael Correa took advantage of the inauguration ceremony of the new military leadership to endorse the provision of the Ecuadorian government that demands the armed forces to take to the streets to fight delinquency and organized crime.
The new chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Leonardo Barreiro, took office with the mission of bringing the military to public safety.
“A poor country cannot afford to have an armed force only in the case of a conventional war (…) that would be too many resources on it, a real waste,” said the president, who ruled for the moment any armed conflict with neighboring countries.
“The main concern of our people is to fight insecurity and they require of our Armed Forces. You not only may but must do it.”
The head of state reminded that the Armed Forces are an institution like the police, to protect the rights, freedoms and guarantees of citizens, and under this context the military should contribute in the fight against insecurity.
The problem, said Correa, is that there is not yet integrated in the vision of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces the need of the involvement of soldiers in public safety and combating organized crime, for which he requested to change strategies and train the human element. “It’s a war, dear soldiers, we are forced to face and win it,” he said.
The internal protection and maintenance of public order, according to the Constitution, are functions of the police, who kept silent about the presidential order to share the mission with the military. (FL)