They assassinate Fernando Villavicencio, Ecuador’s candidate for the presidency, after a rally

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated on Wednesday after he was shot by unidentified gunmen at the exit of an election campaign rally in a central part of Quito, the Ecuadorian government has confirmed.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata confirmed the information and assured that the attack was carried out by assassins who also injured other people.

At this time, the authorities have not released any official information or further details on the incident, which took place late in the afternoon on the edge of a coliseum where Villavicencio had gathered supporters as part of the pre-election campaign on August 20. .

Villavicencio, seen as a staunch critic of former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017), mobilized with police protection in the face of threats he had received weeks earlier.

According to information from local media, special agents were investigating the possibility of planting an explosive device in the arena of an educational unit where the candidate was proselytizing.

Villavicencio’s murder came at a time when the country was experiencing an escalation of violence due to the crackdown of criminal gangs.

Numerous reports of murders, massacres, extortions, bomb attacks and other crimes are reproduced daily, spreading fear and terror among Ecuadorians who have been suffering from this type of violence for a little over two years.

Ecuador ended 2022 with the highest rate of violent deaths in its history, recording 25.32 per 100,000 people. According to the government, the vast majority are linked to organized crime and the drug trade, which has gained strength on the coast and turned into ports, major stepping stones for cocaine to Europe and North America.

Precisely the fight against crime was one of the main promises made by the candidates who are hoping to succeed conservative Guillermo Lasso as president in the extraordinary general elections to be held next Sunday, August 20th.

In addition to Villavicencio, environmentalist Yaku Pérez, Correísta Luisa González, security expert Jan Topic, former Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner, politician Daniel Hervas, businessman Daniel Noboa and independent Bolívar Armijos had registered for the presidential election. EFE

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