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The professional-quality music video appears to be like and sounds very similar to a standard Mexican ballad. A girl rides a horse throughout a subject whereas two males in Tejana hats croon to accordion music a couple of “man of excellent honor.”
Then the star seems: One in all Ecuador’s most feared drug lords — posing for the digicam within the nation’s most infamous jail.
The video, apparently filmed contained in the Guayaquil jail and posted on YouTube over the weekend, pays homage to José Adolfo “Fito” Macías Villamar, a convicted assassin who has helped lead Los Choneros — a gang that reportedly companions with the Sinaloa Cartel to maneuver cocaine to the USA.
Mariachi Bravo’s “El Corrido del León” — “The Lion’s Ballad” — taunts a authorities that has proved incapable of seizing management of its prisons again from the more and more highly effective gangs. With a high-production-value video recorded partially in a facility that holds Ecuador’s most harmful convicts, the criminals are sending a transparent message about who’s in cost.
“Es el jefe y patrón, señores,” the boys sing. He’s the boss.
By Monday night, it had racked up greater than 150,000 views.
Simply weeks in the past, in an tried present of power, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso despatched hundreds of safety personnel into the Guayaquil jail to switch Fito to a maximum-security jail. “Ecuador will get well peace and safety,” Lasso posted on X, the platform previously often known as Twitter.
Then, earlier this month, a choose approved Fito’s return to the regional jail. A drone carrying explosives landed on the roof of the maximum-security facility. And on Friday night time, Fito appeared within the ward patio of the regional jail, beside murals bearing his title. At one level he was recorded stroking a rooster within the jail, flashing an enormous gold ring. His daughter, a musician who goes by Queen Michelle, sings about her father, describing him as a household man.
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Journalists questioned how, in a jail system that not often grants entry to digicam operators, a video crew was in a position to movie its most distinguished inmate. Jail authorities haven’t offered a proof.
The video was extra proof of the gangs’ management of a jail system that has suffered document ranges of violence between competing drug-trafficking teams. A whole bunch of inmates have been killed in bloody battles prior to now two years. Gangs are recognized to smuggle in medication, cellphones, weapons and grenades, explosive units they use to blow holes via partitions. Jail guards have reportedly stood outdoors jail partitions whereas combatants have beheaded and dismembered enemies.
It shouldn’t be stunning, then, Ecuadorian lawyer and professor David Cordero-Heredia says, that the gangs are able to bringing in a digicam crew to movie a music video. Cordero-Heredia research the jail system.
“It’s not possible that a majority of these issues may occur with out the intervention of state forces,” Cordero-Heredia mentioned. However releasing the video on social media, he mentioned, reveals the gangs not really feel the necessity to act in secrecy.
It’s the form of daring mockery seen by distinguished drug lords in a long time previous in Colombia and Mexico.
“We’ve heard narcocorridos which are Mexican or Colombian, however by no means Ecuadorian,” mentioned Christian Palacios, a human rights advocate and researcher who focuses on Ecuador’s jail system. “That is normalizing crime and displaying, in a public method, that it’s attainable to triumph being a delinquent.”
In Mexico, the ballads often known as narcocorridos — a coinage that mixes the Spanish phrases for “drug lord” and “working” — have lengthy celebrated the exploits of Robin Hood-styled outlaws and their battles with regulation enforcement. Some Mexican states have banned them from being performed in public areas. Comparable songs about drug traffickers and guerrillas could be heard blasting from audio system in bars in sure rural elements of Colombia, the place they’re often known as corridos prohibidos — prohibited ballads.
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The style’s arrival in Ecuador would possibly replicate the rising affect of the Mexican cartels which are more and more working with native gangs to compete for management of drug routes within the nation. Ecuador, sandwiched between the world’s two greatest coca producers, Colombia and Peru, has emerged as a key transit nation for cocaine flowing to the USA and Europe — and a battleground for drug traffickers and gangs, who’ve introduced document ranges of violence to what was as soon as seen as a comparatively protected haven within the area.
The violence reached into the very best ranges of politics when a presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, was assassinated simply days earlier than the primary spherical of voting. Shortly earlier than his demise, Villavicencio had denounced a demise menace he mentioned he had acquired from somebody who claimed to have ties to Fito.
The gang combating inside and out of doors of the prisons have left the Choneros, as soon as thought of the nation’s strongest legal group, fragmented and its management weakened, in response to suppose tank InSight Crime. However Fito and his allies nonetheless management a big portion of the Guayaquil jail.
Shortly after Lasso proudly introduced Fito’s switch to the maximum-security La Roca jail final month, inmates in Guayaquil climbed to the rooftop and staged a protest. Lengthy after the demonstration ended, an indication nonetheless hung from a tower: “We wish Fito again.”
Inside weeks, he had returned.
Diana Durán contributed to this report.