QUITO, Ecuador — An Ecuadorian presidential candidate recognized for talking up towards corruption was shot and killed Wednesday at a political rally within the capital amid a wave of startling violence within the South American nation.
President Guillermo Lasso confirmed the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio and urged organized crime was behind his slaying, lower than two weeks earlier than the Aug. 20 presidential election.
“I guarantee you that this crime is not going to go unpunished,” Lasso mentioned in an announcement. “Organized crime has gone too far, however they’ll really feel the complete weight of the legislation.”
Previous to the capturing, Villavicencio mentioned he had acquired a number of dying threats, together with from leaders of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, certainly one of a slew of worldwide organized crime teams that now function in Ecuador.
Villavicencio was certainly one of eight candidates, although not the frontrunner. The politician, 59, was the candidate for the Construct Ecuador Motion.
Ecuador’s lawyer basic’s workplace mentioned a suspect within the assassination of Villavicencio died of accidents after being arrested by authorities.
Violence in Ecuador, a traditionally calm nation, has surged previously 12 months as drug traffickers have flocked to the South American nation, leading to a regarding uptick in drug trafficking, violent killings and youngster recruitment by gangs.
Movies on social media seem to point out the candidate strolling out of the occasion surrounded by guards. The video then exhibits Villavicencio getting right into a white pickup truck earlier than gunshots are heard, adopted by screams and commotion across the truck. This sequence of occasions was confirmed to The Related Press by Patricio Zuquilanda, Villavicencio’s marketing campaign adviser.
Zuquilanda mentioned the candidate had acquired at the least three dying threats earlier than the capturing, which he had reported to authorities, leading to one detention. He known as on worldwide authorities to take motion towards the violence, attributing it to rising violence and drug trafficking.
“The Ecuadorian individuals are crying and Ecuador is mortally wounded,” he mentioned. “Politics can not result in the dying of any member of society.”
Villavicencio was probably the most important voices towards corruption, particularly in the course of the 2007-2017 authorities of President Rafael Correa. Villavicencio filed many judicial complaints towards excessive rating members of the Correa authorities, together with towards the ex-president himself.
Edison Romo, a former navy intelligence colonel, mentioned the complaints made Villavicencio “a menace to worldwide prison organizations.”
Authorities confirmed that at the least 9 others have been injured, together with officers and a congressional candidate. They described the incident as a terrorist act and promising to resolve the killing.
The killing was met with an outcry by different candidates who demanded motion, with presidential frontrunner Luisa González of the Citizen Revolution social gathering saying “after they contact certainly one of us, they contact all of us.”
One other candidate and former vice chairman Otto Sonnenholzner, in the meantime, mentioned in a information convention, “We’re dying, drowning in a sea of tears and we don’t need to reside like this. We demand that you simply do one thing.”
Villavicencio was married and is survived by 5 youngsters.