WATCH: Who Alias ’Fito’ Is The Leader Of Los Soneros Who Threatened Assassinated Fernando Villavicencio?
After a 59-year-old former congressman and journalist known for his fight against corruption and organized crime was shot dead at the end of a rally, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lazo declared a 60-day state of emergency across the country. It has also suffered from drug trafficking and an increase in the violence of organized crime.
Lasso ordered three days of national mourning to honor the memory of Villavicencio, who was watched closely by his family at a funeral in northern Quito. A handful of supporters dressed in white polo shirts and flowers arrived at the scene with signs reading “They killed my president.”
Villavicencio He was one of the eight presidential candidates registered in these extraordinary elections, called on Sunday the 20th, after Lasso decreed the “death of the cross” in May, in which he dissolved the National Assembly (Parliament) in the Constitution. As he prepares to vote for his impeachment, the opposition is in the majority.
The killing sparked outrage inside and outside of Ecuador, not only because of the gruesomeness of the footage of the crime, but also because Villavicencio continued to warn that he had received threats against him and his campaign team.
Villavicencio He pointed out that he was the target of threats from Los Soneros, the largest criminal organization in Ecuador, whose leader is in custody.
“El Universo” newspaper indicated that Villavicencio was assassinated “hit-man style and with three shots to the head”. Nine people, including an assembly candidate and three police officers, were injured in the attack. An accused assailant also died, the prosecution said.
Shockingly, Lasso announced that the US Federal Police (FBI) would assist Ecuador in investigations into the murder. “A delegation will arrive in the country in a few hours”, he said on social networking site X (formerly Twitter), without elaborating.
The Construi movement, which supported Villavicencio’s candidacy, described the killing as cowardly and hoped to create a committee to monitor legal processes and demanded that “an international commission be set up as part of the investigation of this massacre”.
“We are not going to allow drug politics to rear its head and make a mockery of justice againHe said in a statement.
Crime on the rise
- Violent deaths have increased along with drug seizures in Ecuador. The country is closing in on a rate of 25 murders per 100,000 citizens in 2022, double the 2021 rate.
- An aspiring representative was also assassinated during this election campaign, as well as two mayoral candidates before the local elections in February.
Meanwhile, Ecuadorian police said the six men arrested for Vilavicencio’s murder were all Colombian nationals, and the man died at the scene.
So far, authorities have revealed that several men involved in the alleged killers took part in the crime.
Lasso blamed organized crime for the murder VillavicencioSo far authorities have not provided further details about the motive and the possible group behind the attack.
Gabriela Vivanco, director of the Ecuadorian newspaper “La Hora,” told El Comercio that there are many theories about the motives and perpetrators of the murder, but no proven information.
“There is a lot of uncertainty because Fernando Villavicencio was a candidate who had a strong rhetoric against corruption in general and we have corruption in all governments. He had a very strong speech against drug trafficking and organized crime gangs that operate and move in different parts of the country and are very active in hit men and other acts of violence.“, he says.
He pointed out that political violence was taking place in Ecuador, which he had already warned about. “The violence on the streets is already huge, there are ongoing riots in prisons with people being killed and beheaded, but political violence is on the rise. Citizens were already very worried, and what happened with Villavicencio was a move that swept away the political, economic and social spheres.“, Collaboration.
A shake-up in the campaign
murder Villavicencio This had a direct impact on the election campaign, although officials announced that the election date would be maintained.
Several presidential candidates, such as Yaku Pérez (indigenous president from the left, third with 12.5%) and Otto Sonnenholzner (vice-president, fourth from the right, fourth with 7.5%) announced they were suspending their campaigns and expressed regret for the massacre.
Villavicencio, from the Construye movement, was in fourth place with less than 10% preference, although polls indicated that 40% were still undecided. In another poll, he ranked second.
At the top of the preferences is Luisa González, Corismo’s candidate.
Construi asked to postpone the mandatory debate between the candidates scheduled for this Sunday the 13th.
Vivanco insists that when there is no clear picture of who will enter the second round in the electoral field, citizens are afraid because of the crime.
“It is indeed a very uncertain election situation. One poll placed Fernando Villavicencio in second place after Corismo’s candidate, but, in general, he finished second, third and fourth based on polls.”, he points out.
In addition, he explains, the focus is now on what the Konstrui movement is going to do, which may drop out of the race or elect another representative for the presidency.
“The candidate for the vice presidential nomination is a very low profile person, an environmentalist with no political experience and it is very rare that he would consider a presidential candidate. Now, the leader of the Construi movement’s list for the next National Assembly is Patricio Carrillo, a minister in the Lasso government and an ex-army man who has a very hard time dealing with violence and organized crime. He may be an option as people demand a strong hand”, he points out.
Another option is for the party to decide to support another candidate. The specialty of the candidacy of Fernando Villavicencio is that he did not form a party, but was part of a coalition of different forces, and now it is doubtful whether they can maintain unity as a presidential candidate.