September 29, 2023

The capturing assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio has shaken Ecuador within the midst of an electoral marketing campaign. The president, Guillermo Lasso, has decreed a state of emergency all through the nation for the subsequent 60 days. Villavicencio’s dying this Wednesday afternoon occurred after collaborating in a marketing campaign occasion in Quito. “The Armed Forces are mobilized all through the nationwide territory to ensure the safety of residents, the tranquility of the nation, the free and democratic elections on August 20, as offered by the Nationwide Council of Ecuador (CNE)”, declared the president after an emergency assembly with the Safety Cupboard.

The assault occurred at 6:20 p.m. native time (1:20 a.m. in mainland Spain) exterior the Anderson faculty within the capital. Villavicencio, whom most polls positioned in fourth or fifth place among the many eight opponents who will dispute the succession of Lasso on August 20, introduced himself as a battering ram in opposition to corruption underneath the motto It’s time for the courageous. After the rally and simply earlier than entering into his automobile surrounded by bodyguards, the 59-year-old candidate and a journalist by career, was hit by bullets. The hitmen fired at the least 40 pictures and injured different individuals who accompanied him. The Prosecutor’s Workplace indicated that the alleged perpetrator of the assault died after a confrontation with safety forces.

Hours later, Lasso confirmed the arrest of at the least six suspects, who, in response to the Prosecutor’s Workplace, have been arrested “throughout raids carried out” in two districts of Quito, “within the context of the homicide of Villavicencio.” The president has indicated that the investigations proceed and that the authorities “will apply all of the rigor of the regulation in order that these accountable pay the utmost penalty.” “It is a political crime that acquires a terrorist character and we don’t doubt that it’s an try and sabotage the electoral course of,” mentioned Lasso, who has focused organized crime and added that “it isn’t a coincidence” that this assault passed off. “a number of days from the primary spherical”. The president recalled that the sufferer herself had reported threats from a legal group linked to the Sinaloa Cartel in current days.

As well as, Lasso has decreed three days of nationwide mourning to honor the reminiscence of Villavicencio, whereas the president of the CNE, Diana Atamaint, has indicated that the date of the elections stays unchanged, “in compliance with the constitutional mandate,” in addition to all of the actions already organized within the framework of the elections.

Earlier than main the Movimiento Construye candidacy, the politician was a member of the Meeting till its dissolution and chaired the Oversight Fee. Throughout the impeachment trial in opposition to Lasso, he was criticized as a result of that fee issued a report favorable to the president that didn’t have the help of different legislators. The assault happens with 11 days to go earlier than the elections in a rustic asphyxiated by an unprecedented safety disaster. Throughout the marketing campaign, the mayor of Manta, a key port for drug trafficking, and Rider Sanchez, candidate for the Meeting, have been assassinated.

Managed explosion of a tool left exterior the place the place Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated. KAREN TORO (REUTERS)

In one of many interviews he gave this August 9 to the Ecuavisa outlet, Villavicencio had criticized the function of the authorities in combating organized crime. He acknowledged that “the Police know the place the hideouts of criminals, drug traffickers, unlawful mining, and white-collar criminals are,” and promised that one of many first issues he would do if he grew to become president could be to purify to the general public drive. He had additionally denounced, in current days, threats from aliases phyto and that he had obtained a warning from this legal: “If I maintain mentioning the identify of Fito and mentioning the Choneros, they’ll break me,” he had warned. Nevertheless, he refused to again down: “Right here I’m displaying my face, I’m not afraid of them.”

Los Choneros is a bunch of drug traffickers whose origins date again to the late Nineties within the coastal metropolis of Manta. After years of development, it has develop into some of the highly effective legal organizations in Ecuador and at present works for the highly effective Sinaloa cartel (Mexico) in cocaine trafficking. His adversaries embody Los Lobos, Tiguerones and Chone Killers, three gangs that run logistics operations for the Jalisco Nueva Generacion Cartel, additionally Mexican.

“Organized crime has come a good distance, however the full weight of the regulation will fall on them,” mentioned President Lasso on Twitter, who confirmed his “outrage” and guaranteed that “this crime won’t go unpunished.” As well as, he convened a Safety Cupboard on the Carondelet Palace in Quito, to which the president of the Nationwide Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint; the State Legal professional Normal, Diana Salazar; the president of the Nationwide Courtroom of Justice, Ivan Saquicela, and the Armed Forces.

Luisa Gonzalez, the candidate promoted by former President Rafael Correa who leads the polls, suspended her marketing campaign and, like Lasso, confirmed her resounding rejection of the assault: “It’s with indignation that I obtain the horrible information of the assault that induced the dying of Fernando Villavicencio, this He mourns us all, my solidarity hug to all his household and co-idearies. This vile act won’t go unpunished!” he acknowledged. Hours later, the previous president, who lives in Belgium, additionally condemned the crime. “Fernando Villavicencio has been murdered. Ecuador has develop into a failed state. You harm, Motherland. My solidarity together with his household and with all of the households of the victims of violence. Those that intend to sow much more hatred with this new tragedy, I hope they perceive that it solely continues to destroy us, ”he wrote on his Twitter account.

Law enforcement officials work on the scene the place Fernando Villavicencio was shot. KAREN TORO (REUTERS)

“Villavicencio was the illustration of anti-correism and the hypotheses are going to level that manner. He’s a turning level in a stagnant marketing campaign, with candidates with out identification. The marketing campaign won’t be the identical, past the assassinated candidate,” Pedro Donoso, director of the Icare consultancy, informed this newspaper. “An opinion profile indicated that 14% of Ecuadorians thought-about Villavicencio because the candidate who would promote a authorities that was the closest to Guillermo Lasso. The concept was put in in a sector that he was near the president. Actually, his major candidate for the Meeting was a former Inside Minister from Lasso, Patricio Carrillo ”.