President Guillermo Lasso reported that Fernando Villavicencio, a candidate for president of Ecuador, was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman while attending a political gathering in Quito on Wednesday.
The murder occurs in the midst of a shocking upsurge in crime in the South American country, where drug trafficking and homicides are on the rise. In a statement, Lasso stated, “I tell you that this crime will not go unpunished. They will experience the full force of the law, but organized criminality has gone too far.
Videos posted on social media seem to show the candidate leaving the event escorted by security. Villavicencio then enters a white truck in the video, which is immediately followed by gunfire.
The 59-year-old lawmaker ran for office on behalf of the Build Ecuador Movement. He was one of eight contenders for the late August presidential election.
He was one of the most vocal opponents of corruption, particularly from 2007 to 2017 under the administration of former President Rafael Correa. He brought numerous legal complaints against high-ranking Correa government officials.
Early reports indicate that a number of other people were hurt in the incident; however, authorities have not specified how many.
Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio has been assassinated.
Video shows chaotic aftermath. pic.twitter.com/wiAMfwOGXb
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 10, 2023