US condemns 'assault on Ecuador's democracy' as presidential candidate assassinated

US condemns 'assault on Ecuador's democracy' as presidential candidate assassinated

'We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio,' says White House

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US condemned Thursday the "brazen act of violence and assault on Ecuador's democracy" after a presidential candidate was shot dead Wednesday.

"We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio," the White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote on X, the social media formerly known as Twitter.

The attack occurred at 6.20 p.m. local time as Villavicencio was leaving the Anderson School in the national capital of Quito.

Villavicencio, who most polls put in fourth place among eight candidates competing to fill the spot to be left early by President Guillermo Lasso in Aug. 20 elections, had built his campaign around the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The candidate, a 59-year-old journalist, was struck three times after a gunman fired at least 40 shots, wounding others who have been taken to various health centers.

In a video circulating on social media, a burst of gunfire is heard as Villavicencio is getting into a car, and he is later seen on the ground, badly wounded.

The Public Prosecutor's Office said on X that the suspect, who was wounded during an exchange of gunfire with security personnel, was arrested and died shortly afterward.

The attack comes 11 days before elections in a country experiencing an unprecedented security crisis.

On July 17, National Assembly candidate Rider Sanchez was murdered in the coastal province of Esmeraldas, and days later, Manta Mayor Agustin Intriago, was killed in an armed attack.





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