Monday, December 4, 2023

Ecuador Extended State of Exception After Prison Murders Linked to Assassination

Ecuador’s government announced on Sunday that it was extending for 30 days the state of emergency declared across the country in August, following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

President Guillermo Lasso issued an order to renew the declaration for a month due to severe internal unrest, days after seven inmates involved in the killing of Villavicencio were killed in two prisons in Ecuador.

With the extension of the state of exception, the government “guarantees the intervention of the Armed Forces and the Police in the fight against organized crime and common crime,” said the Communication Secretariat of the Presidency on its X account, formerly Twitter.

Between Friday and Saturday, at least seven inmates involved in the investigation into the murder of Fernando Villavicencio were found dead, six of them in the Guayaquil 1 prison and one in the Quito prison.

Last Saturday, Lasso met with the Security Committee, and then the “reorganization” of the police leadership was announced in a statement by the general commander of the institution, General Fausto Salinas, the director of investigations of the same, General Alain Luna, and the director of the prison authority, Luis Ordóñez.

“Neither complicity nor cover-up; the truth will be known here,” the president said on Friday on his X account after urgently returning from a trip to New York, where he was for personal reasons.

Lasso, who maintains an open war against drug trafficking, plans to go from New York to Seoul on an official visit to promote the negotiation of a trade agreement.

But on Saturday, on his X account, the president assured that because of the crisis, he “suspends the planned diplomatic and commercial activities” in that country.

The seven killed were arrested after the killing of Villavicencio, which took place on August 9. The former presidential candidate was shot after a campaign rally in the north of Quito for the early general election on August 20.

The executions of the prisoners this Friday and Saturday take place more than a week before the presidential runoff between the leftist Luisa González and the rightist Daniel Noboa, scheduled for Sunday, the 15th.

Ecuador ended a presidential campaign rocked by political violence and a drug war. In addition to Villavicencio, seven other politicians were killed last year, including a mayor, two municipal councilors, a deputy candidate, and a local leader.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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