Political violence has dominated the election campaign in Ecuador. To the assassination attempts on the candidate Fernando Villavicenciowhich took place this Wednesday, August 9th, and the Mayor of Manta, Augustine Intriagoon July 23, came down to the shooting attack on Thursday Stephanie Bridgecompeting for a seat in the National Assembly.
Investigations into this attack have begun while the country is still pondering the fallout from Villavicencio’s murder, a case that could involve a drug-trafficking gang and one that does not rule out international links. This is what investigations by the Ecuadorian police indicate The six people arrested so far in connection with the attack on Villavicencio are of Colombian origin, as did the one who died after the event. All but one of the detainees have previous convictions.
Prosecutors said the arrests were made during raids in the Conocoto and San Bartolo areas of the capital, Quito. During these night raids, authorities also found a rifle, a machine gun, four pistols, three grenades, two rifle magazines, four cases of ammunition, two motorcycles and a stolen vehicle believed to have been used by the men. This was also confirmed by the public prosecutor’s office on social networks One of the suspects in the attack on Villavicencio died in prison as a result of the injuries he sustained after exchanging gunfire with the leader’s security personnel after the attack. According to police sources, the gunman was captured by security forces from the presidential candidate very close to where the deadly attack took place after he lost control of the motorcycle and fell. They found a Villavicencio movement flag, which he is believed to have used to approach the area without raising suspicion.
The attack on the presidential candidate was carried out by three men who approached on a motorcycle as Villavicencio got into a vehicle after leaving a rally. the leader was in police custody and that day he was not in an armored car.
At the attack on Wednesday Nine other people were injured, including a candidate for the National Assembly and two police officers. President Guillermo Lasso declared three days of national mourning and said the general election would continue on the scheduled date of August 20.
Fernando Villavicencio’s widow, Verónica Sarauz, pointed out the “correísmo” yesterday – the movement led by former President Rafael Correa – to be responsible for her husband’s death.
consulted Blue radio of Colombia on his suspicion of having staged the murder of Villavicencio, Sarauz replied: “I will say it very clearly: Correísmo. Correísmo has ties to criminal gangs in this country. Gangs that have taken over entire provinces, drug gangs (…) Fernando has not only declared war on corrupt politicians in this country. He also had problems with Piedad Córdoba in Colombia. She also threatened my husband to make him disappear.
Córdoba was tipped off by Villavicencio, in his previous role as an investigative journalist, that he was implicated in a corruption scheme involving Colombian businessman Alex Saab, now awaiting trial in the US on money laundering charges, and by the government of Nicolás Maduro “a Venezuelan diplomat” is being defended.
Sarauz continued: “I’m not saying that she was part of it, but he was one of the people Fernando denounced for corruption and she threatened him.
The widow said the investigation should find the culprits: “My husband is dead and the culprits, the masterminds, must come forward.” He made that clear does not believe that the current government of Guillermo Lasso is involved In this case, however, he demanded from the authorities an answer as to the reasons for the failure of security measures. The woman criticized that no bulletproof vests or armored vehicles were used, as is usual, as her husband had already been threatened. “I don’t understand why a hitman could get so close to my husband’s security circle and manage to kill him.”
Sarauz returned to Ecuador on August 10, as he was traveling in the United States at the time of the murder. She had left the country with her children during the election campaign because Police custody applied only to the candidate and did not extend to his family. Doubts about the safety of the flag bearer were also raised Patrick CarrilloCandidate for the post of MP of the same party.
Police commander Fausto Salinas assured that Fernando Villavicencio There were three security fences: an internal team consisting of the immediate security team, consisting of five police officers; a middle reaction fence and an external one with two patrol cars. A delegation from the US FBI will also be involved in the investigation, as Lasso announced yesterday.
the latest polls placed Fernando Villavicencio in second placeafter the candidate of the movement of Rafael Correa, Luisa Gonzalez. During the election campaign, Villavicencio received threats from the organized crime group Los Choneros and its leader, aka Fito.
The Build 25 party announced it will mourn before deciding who will replace the candidate, even though ballots already printed out include the deceased’s name and photo.