Presidential Candidate Assassinated in Ecuador

Fernando Villavicencio shot dead at campaign event
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Ecuador Presidential Candidate Assassinated
People run after presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot and killed after a campaign rally outside a school in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. WARNING: FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE DISTURBING.   (API via AP)

A campaign event in Ecuador took a horrific turn Wednesday when gunfire rang out and opposition candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated. The former lawmaker was killed at a political rally for the Movimiento Construye (or Build Movement) political party at a school north of the capital Quito ahead of the first round of elections on Aug. 20, CNN reports. Villavicencio, who had been polling at around 7.5% per Fox News, was one of seven presidential candidates who had been under police protection, police said earlier this week. A suspect in the assassination was shot dead during a shootout after the incident, the local prosecutor's office says, per Reuters.

Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso said he was "outraged and shocked" by the assassination, and vowed justice would be served. "Organized crime has come a long way, but the full weight of the law will fall on them," he said. Located between two of the biggest drug-producing locations around the globe, Peru and Colombia, Ecuador has become a part of the cocaine trafficking routes and has become more violent as rival gangs fight to control areas and distribute narcotics. Villavicencio himself addressed the violence in a May interview, saying his country had become a "narco state" and suggesting the armed forces and police needed to push back against the "political mafia." (Read more Ecuador stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.