Thursday, 10 August 2023

Right-Wing Presidential Candidate Assassinated By ‘Organized Crime’ After Vowing To Take On Crime

 Right-wing Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated by “organized crime,” according to a statement from the country’s president.

President Guillermo Lasso said he was “outraged and shocked by the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio,” according to a translation of his statement by The New York Times.

Lasso said that those behind the assassination would “not go unpunished.”

Villavicencio, a former journalist, had been highly vocal about the ties between organized crime and government officials in the South American nation, the report said.

The report added that while an “oil boom” lifted the country out of poverty earlier this century, Ecuadorians have been weighed down by a recent infestation of foreign drug trafficking organizations that have descended upon the country and sent homicide rates to all-time highs.

The man suspected of killing Villavicencio died while in police custody, the attorney general’s office said on X.

“A suspect, who was injured during the shootout with security personnel, was apprehended and moved, badly injured, to the (attorney general’s) unit in Quito,” the statement said. “An ambulance from the fire department confirmed his death, the police are proceeding with collection of the cadaver.”

Villavicencio was an opponent of former leftist President Rafael Correa and was sentenced to 18 months in prison back in 2014 for allegedly slandering Correa, according to a report from Bloomberg’s Latin America news division. He remained a fugitive for three years and was granted political asylum in Peru, where he stayed until 2017.


After returning to the country, he went to Ecuador’s attorney general and accused the government of misusing public resources in the “commercialization of crude oil between Ecuador and private company Petrochina,” which he estimated resulted in billions of dollars in loss for the country.

The report said his campaign’s theme was building safety in the country by focusing on five pillars: citizen, food, economic, environmental, and health.

“In the 2021 elections, he was elected a national congress member for the so-called Honesty Alliance, and in September 2022 he was the victim of an attack at his residence,” the report added. “As an investigative journalist, he has also contributed with information to denounce cases of corruption in oil, mining, electricity, telecommunications and criminal structures.”

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