Ecuador has declared a state of emergency following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. The former journalist was fatally shot after a campaign event in Quito 10 days before the August 20 election. He had faced death threats recently for speaking out about the links between the government and organized crime. This is Fernando Villavicencio speaking in late July.
Fernando Villavicencio: “The country knew through the media of a police report in which it’s revealed a very serious threat of one of the Sinaloa Cartel’s boss — I’m referring to alias 'Tito' — against me and my campaign team. There was this warning that if I keep referring to him and his structure, they would attack me or my life. … Drug traffickers and the mafia want to take the political power of the state. And without a doubt, it’s not Tito who’s behind this threat; it’s the political mafias that are behind Tito, who is behind this threat against my candidacy.”
Fernando Villavicencio was 59 years old. The BBC reports a criminal group called Los Lobos, meaning The Wolves, has claimed responsibility for his killing. One suspect was shot dead after the assassination.