The candidate for the presidency of Ecuador Fernando Villavicencio has been shot dead at a campaign event in Quito. Most of the polls placed him in fourth or fifth position among the eight opponents who will dispute the succession of Guillermo Lasso on August 20. Villavicencio was presented as a solution to the corruption suffered by the country with the slogan ‘It’s time for the brave’. Six people have been arrested for their relationship with the crime. The country’s president, the conservative Guillermo Lasso, has decreed a state of emergency for 60 days.
Once the rally was over and just before getting into his vehicle surrounded by bodyguards, the 59-year-old candidate and a journalist by profession, was hit by three bullets to the head. The hitmen fired almost fifty shots and injured other people who accompanied him. The alleged perpetrator of the attack died after a confrontation with security forces. President Lasso pointed to “organized crime” and the victim herself, close to the president, had denounced threats from a criminal group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in recent days.
Exact moment in which the candidate for the presidency of Ecuador, Fernando Villavicencio, is killed as he leaves a political rally in Quito. pic.twitter.com/GTQyBeXt7y
— Wall Street Wolverine (@wallstwolverine) August 10, 2023
The country is in a state of upheaval. Ecuador goes to the polls on August 20, and on Sunday the 13th the official debate of the eight candidates was agreed. Villavicencio was a renowned investigative journalist, who uncovered serious cases that ended in legal proceedings and a conviction.
Criticism of the Police
In the last National Assembly (Congress) he chaired the Oversight Commission from where he made serious complaints about drug trafficking and links with political sectors. Ecuador has entered a stage of political violence not known until now. In one of the interviews that Villavicencio gave in recent days, he criticized the role of the authorities in combating organized crime: “The Police know where the hideouts of criminals, drug traffickers, illegal mining, criminals are. white collar”. And he promised that one of the first things he would do if he became president would be to purify the security forces.
The Ecuadorian Police is already investigating the facts and is checking the place, whose passage has been closed, to “rule out the presence of explosives”, as reported by Europa Press. According to witnesses quoted by the newspaper ‘Primicias’, the presidential candidate was shot by a revolver used by “a short man”.
The shooting, which occurred at 6:20 p.m. local time, has left at least eight injured, of whom seven have had to be taken to the hospital, according to campaign sources quoted by ‘El Universo’.
The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office has announced the death of a suspect after being injured during the shootout between the hitmen and security personnel. “A suspect, who was injured during the exchange of bullets with security personnel, was apprehended and taken badly injured to the Flagrancy Unit in Quito. An ambulance from the Fire Department confirmed his death. The Ecuadorian Police proceed with the removal of the body,” the Public Ministry has published on its account on the social network X, formerly Twitter.
They detonate a suspicious package
Agents of the Ecuadorian Police caused this Wednesday the controlled detonation of a package suspected of containing an explosive, located in the same place where the presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead, as reported by Efe.
The detonation took place near the intersection of Amazonas and Gaspar de Villarroel avenues, in the commercial and financial center of northern Quito, after the bomb squad cleared the highly crowded area.
An agent with special equipment located the package in a safe place and protected by tires, to proceed with the caused and controlled detonation.
The area remains cordoned off and the movement of people and vehicles is prohibited while investigations are carried out and evidence of the crime is carried out, which, according to the authorities, was perpetrated by hitmen.
The crime has raised a wave of comments from citizens and authorities calling for greater security.