Conservative Presidential Candidate Shot Dead in South American Country

[Photo Credit: By Asamblea Nacional del Ecuador - https://www.flickr.com/photos/asambleanacional/51247210801/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=106583035]

At a gathering for the next presidential election in Ecuador, a candidate who ran on a platform against gangs and corruption was reportedly fatally shot.

As he was leaving the event in the nation’s capital, Quito, on Wednesday, Fernando Villavicencio, a member of the national legislature, was attacked.

He is one of the few candidates that has suggested a connection between organized crime and Ecuadorian government figures.

According to President Guillermo Lasso, organized crime was responsible for the murder.

Historically, Ecuador has been a reasonably peaceful and stable nation in Latin America, but in recent years, violence has skyrocketed due to the rising influence of the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, which have infiltrated local gangs.

Last month, Fernando Villavicencio was assigned a security detail after receiving threats from a group known as Los Choneros.

After he was killed, a video with heavily armed guys wearing balaclavas taking credit for the killing surfaced on social media. The guys identify themselves as members of Los Lobos (The Wolves), an enemy of Los Choneros.

Despite not being in the lead and polling in the center of the pack, Mr. Villavicencio, a married father of five, was one of eight candidates in the first round of voting.

Former journalist and current politician Mr. Villavicencio had criticized what he called the lax treatment of the gangs and promised a crackdown if he were elected.

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