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Security in Ecuador: Army will preserve public safety and fight crime.

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa (left), chaired today, Thursday April 22, 2010, in Quito, the ceremony of the new commanders of the Armed Forces of Ecuador. The event took Maj. Gen. Luis Ernesto González Villarreal (2nd from left), as head of Joint Command of the Armed Forces (credit photo EFE Jose Jacome)

The head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Ecuador, Luis Ernesto González, presented to Parliament a law project with amendments to the Public Safety Act, in order  to regulate the military contribution in fighting crime.

Before the Committee on Sovereignty, International Relations and Global Security of the ecuatorian Parliament, Maj. Gral. Gonzalez said that military involvement in internal security should not be discretionary, but subsidiary to the Police and coordination between forces.

According to the military leader, the Article 23 of the draft should provide that “the armed forces as an organization can act to protect the rights of civilians, exercise the powers to control use of weapons, ammunition, explosives, materials and related substances.”

In exercising these controls ” the Armed Forces of Ecuador have been assigned in the Act, to carry out preventive, deterrent and reactive actions to preserve public safety.”

The draft proposed by the Army also indicate that the Board of Public Safety and the state will recommend to the President of the Republic the use of the armed forces, in circumstances where maintaining the public safety requires it.

In this case, the minister of defense can order the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the ecuatorian military the planning, determine the required quota, the geographical space, time, equipment and supplied weapons to be used, and the operations to be performed.

For compliance the Defence Minister will coordinate actions with the Ministry of Interior (Police) as ” the Ministry of Finance will allocate the necessary resources for training, equipping and employment of the Armed Forces to protect public safety.”

Maj. Gral. Gonzalez felt that the work between the armed forces and police is key to maintaining the country’s overall security. “This should be a national project that deserves multidimensional responses.”

“These risks and threats hinder social and economic life of the community, so all branches of government should be involved in the tasks to be undertaken to counteract the insecurity, said Maj. Gral. Gonzalez before the legislative committee.