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The anti-corruption presidential candidate who took over the socialist regime is assassinated in Ecuador

The anti-corruption presidential candidate who took over the socialist regime is assassinated in Ecuador

One of Ecuador’s leading presidential candidates was shot dead as he left a demonstration in Quito on Wednesday. This incident led President Guillermo Lasso to announce a state of emergency, pointing to organized crime as the culprits of the murder.

The 59-year-old candidate, Fernando Villavicencio, recognized for challenging a corrupt socialist regime, had previously mentioned that he faced threats. Villavicencio was the second most popular candidate in the presidential race, according to recent opinion polls.

Security personnel took down a suspected assailant and police safely disposed of an explosive device found nearby, according to chief investigator Alain Luna.

Carlos Figueroa, present at the time with Villavicencio, told local media that the attackers fired about thirty shots. [The graphic video of the incident can be watched below. The footage may disturb viewers.]

“They ambushed him outside” of the sports center, Figueroa said. “Some (of those present) even thought they were fireworks.” The country’s main newspaper, El Universo, reported that Villavicencio was killed “hitman-style and with three shots to the head.”

However, Lasso has assured that the general elections scheduled for August 20 will unfold as planned.

“Outraged and shocked by the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio,” the president said in a statement on social media, blaming the killing on “organized crime.”

“For his memory and for his struggle, I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished.”

The president also declared three days of national mourning “in honor of the memory of a patriot, Fernando Villavicencio Valencia.”

“The Armed Forces from this moment are mobilized throughout the national territory to guarantee the safety of citizens, the tranquility of the country and the free and democratic elections on August 20,” Lasso said in a YouTube address .

“This is a political crime that takes on a terrorist nature and we have no doubt that this murder is an attempt to sabotage the electoral process,” he added.

Lasso has said he will not seek re-election.

The president of the National Electoral Council, Diana Atamaint, said that “the date of the elections scheduled for August 20 remains unchanged.”

Questions are raised about the identity of the perpetrators of the murder. The New York Times provided background on Villavicencio after his untimely death.

“Union leader. Macabre journalist. Legislator Presidential candidate,” the Times noted. “And now, the killer’s victim. Fernando Villavicencio, who was gunned down at a rally on Wednesday, had a long history in Ecuadorian public affairs, largely as an antagonist to the rulers. He rose to prominence as a union leader at the state oil company Petroecuador, and later played a crucial role in exposing a corruption scandal involving the administration of former President Rafael Correa.”

“Mr. Correa, a socialist, was Ecuador’s longest-serving democratically elected president, leading the nation for a decade, until 2017,” the Times continued. “And Mr. Villavicencio ‘always disputed the power’ of Mr. Correa, according to Caroline Ávila, an Ecuadorian political analyst.”

Critically, Villavicencio had been a brash journalist who had given sensitive information to Wikileaks, making powerful enemies around the world.

“As a journalist, Mr. Villavicencio obtained documents about a government surveillance program that he sent to WikiLeaks but eventually released himself,” the Times said. “Some of his work led to death threats and charges that were widely criticized as politically motivated. He fled to Peru in 2017 to seek political asylum.”

Villavicencio’s journalism exposed the socialist regime’s hiring of an Italian surveillance company to carry out a program targeting journalists and political opponents. This surveillance program included spying on Julian Assange during his asylum at the embassy.

The US ambassador to Ecuador, Michael Patrick, condemned the killing of Villavicencio.

“I am deeply surprised to learn of the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, presidential candidate and fighter against the corrupt and narco-criminals who have done so much harm to Ecuador. On behalf of the people and the Government of the United States of America, I express my deepest condolences to his family and the people of Ecuador. The US government strongly condemns this attack and is offering urgent assistance to the investigation.”

However, there are some Ecuadorian political observers who believe that Correa is at least circumstantially responsible.

This is the one responsible for the death of Villacencio our brave warrior. Corretja Son of a bitch and your criminal gang of narcorreists are responsible for the fact that Ecuador and the world are in mourning. Bad birth they will pay.

— Cook Tapia (@tapi56932) August 10, 2023

“This is solely responsible for the death of Villavicencio, our brave warrior,” said one supporter. “Correa son of a [expletives deleted] and the drug traffickers of your criminal gang are responsible for Ecuador and the world is in mourning. [Expletive deleted] they will pay”.

After the assassination, Correa, the former president, expressed his feelings about the assassination.

“They have killed Fernando Villavicencio,” Correa wrote. “Ecuador has become a failed state.”

“My solidarity with his family and with all the families of the victims of violence,” he added.

But many critics are not convinced that Correa is blameless in the murder. Emmanuel Rincón, a journalist who covers Latin American issues, has expressed his skepticism at the conviction of the former president for the attack.

Your threat was fulfilled, hypocrite @MashiRafael!

— Emmanuel Racó (@EmmaRincon) August 10, 2023

“Your threat was carried out, you hypocrite [Correa]!” posted on X.

The suspect believed to have committed the crime was killed in a police shootout following the murder.


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