Right-wing Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio met a tragic end on Wednesday, succumbing to a hail of bullets after departing from a political rally. The incident unfolded in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito, at a school hosting the political event. Villavicencio’s family heartbreakingly confirmed his untimely demise, as reported by Bloomberg News.
Villavicencio, a former journalist and prominent critic of the erstwhile leftist President Rafael Correa, met his fate after a life punctuated by political upheaval and legal entanglements. Notably, he faced an 18-month prison sentence in 2014 on charges of alleged slander against Correa, a conviction that drove him underground as a fugitive for a staggering three years. During this time, he secured political asylum in neighboring Peru, where he resided until 2017.
Upon his return to Ecuador, Villavicencio took a bold step by lodging accusations with the nation’s attorney general. He alleged rampant misuse of public resources in the dealings involving the “commercialization of crude oil between Ecuador and private company Petrochina,” asserting that these actions had resulted in billions of dollars in losses for the nation. His steadfast commitment to transparency and accountability struck a chord with many, fueling his campaign for the presidency.
Central to his political platform was a resonant promise to bolster national security by focusing on five key pillars: citizen welfare, food security, economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and public health. Such a comprehensive approach garnered attention, as it aimed to address multifaceted challenges facing the nation. The unfortunate assassination of Villavicencio has abruptly cut short a burgeoning political career with an emphasis on safeguarding the interests of Ecuador’s citizens.
Villavicencio’s background as an investigative journalist further underlined his commitment to unearthing corruption and graft across various sectors, ranging from oil and mining to telecommunications and criminal networks. His role as a national congress member for the “Honesty Alliance” after the 2021 elections underscored his growing influence within Ecuador’s political landscape.
It’s worth noting that this is not the first time Villavicencio faced danger due to his endeavors. In September 2022, he experienced an attack at his own residence, an alarming testament to the risks he took while striving to bring to light instances of malfeasance and misconduct.