LatinNews Daily - 21 August 2023

US reacts to Villavicencio assassination in Ecuador

Ecuador:  On 10 August US Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols stated on social media that the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, a presidential candidate in Ecuador’s 20 August general election, the previous day was “a brazen attack on democracy and the rule of law”. Nichols added that the US urges “a swift and thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities”. Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso confirmed the same day that he had “requested assistance from the FBI [US Federal Bureau of Investigation] for the investigation into the murder,” which the FBI accepted, sending a delegation to Ecuador. Other senior officials from the administration of US President Joe Biden, such as national security advisor, Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have condemned the murder. Sullivan wrote on social media that “the US condemns this brazen act of violence and assault on Ecuador’s democracy”, while Blinken wrote that the US was “ready to support local authorities in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice”. Villavicencio, who was killed on leaving a campaign event in Ecuador’s capital Quito, was an outspoken critic of corruption and drug trafficking and the nefarious nexus between criminals and politicsEcuador has experienced a series of political assassinations this year, with the mayor of the port city of Manta in Manabí province, Agustín Intriago, assassinated on 24 July, and the mayoral candidate for Puerto López municipality in the coastal province of Manabí, Omar Menéndez, assassinated on 4 February. 

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