Booming cocaine trade now stains most of Latin America

Drug violence reaches well beyond Mexico and Colombia into the region’s quieter corners.

Residents at the scene of an explosion in the Cristo del Consuelo neighbourhood of Guayaquil, Ecuador, on Aug 15 which left at least five dead. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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(FINANCIAL TIMES) - An explosion that blew the front off two modest houses, killing at least five people. Two bodies left hanging from a bridge over a busy road. At least 187 inmates murdered, some decapitated, in two prison massacres.

This trail of blood would not be unusual in Mexico or Colombia, scarred by decades of drug violence. Yet it was unleashed over the past year in Guayaquil, the biggest city of once-tranquil Ecuador. In Uruguay, often described as the "Switzerland of Latin America", 14 bodies appeared over a 10-day period this year. Three had been burnt and one dismembered.

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