Former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, said that organized crime has infiltrated the state, in his statements to Russia Today about the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
The candidate was shot dead on Wednesday, August 9, during a campaign event in the north of Quito, capital of Ecuador.
“Organized crime has infiltrated the state, the government, the judicial system, politics in general, and the security forces,” Correa said on Thursday, August 10.
Correa added that he believes that “corrupt high-ranking police officers are linked” to this crime, given the confusing circumstances of the murder and the failures in the security of the candidate, who “had received threats” and “was one of the most protected men in the country.”
“In spite of that, they take him out through the front door [of the auditorium where he was conducting a campaign rally] without a vest, without a helmet, in a van, not even an armored car, without the slightest precautions. The hitmen come from the other side, and shoot and kill him,” said Correa. Villavicencio’s family has also pointed out the same failures in his security.
Regarding one of the videos that circulated about the attack, Correa commented that”it is clear that all the [security] protocols were broken. How can we understand that?”
The former president also criticized the fact that when one of the alleged assassins was captured, who according to the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office (FGE) was badly wounded, instead of taking him to a hospital, he was taken to the Flagrancy Unit, where he died “in very mysterious conditions.”
El expresidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, criticó el protocolo empleado por el servicio de seguridad que acompañaba al candidato presidencial a las elecciones anticipadas Fernando Villavicencio previo a su asesinato. pic.twitter.com/HxgbcCPmic
— Sepa Más (@Sepa_mass) August 11, 2023
“So, an operation of this magnitude, not even one of these very powerful drug trafficking mafias has the capacity to do it,” Correa emphasized.
Another hypothesis, he continued, is that it was revenge by an organized crime group called Los Choneros, the local armed wing of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, which had threatened Villavicencio.
The former president also decried that “the usual politicians and irresponsible people” want to blame Correismo for this murder, only because Villavicencio was a political adversary of the Citizens’ Revolution.
“But this kind of stupid things are going on these days,” he added, and stressed that although Villavicencio was one of the “worst opponents” of his government, during his administration (2007-2017) “absolutely nothing happened to him [Villavicencio].”
Correa also referred to President Guillermo Lasso’s announcement regarding the request for support he made to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate Villavicencio’s murder. In this regard, Correa commented that this “shows the failure of his government.”
“We can already call Ecuador a failed state,” the former president said, criticizing Lasso’s strategy of decreeing a state of emergency in the country.
“It is not a matter of decreeing a state of exception, but of having a comprehensive public security strategy,” Correa commented. “Organized crime is not fought with more guns for the police, which they do not have either, but with intelligence, with technology, with international networking.”
Correa added that the situation of violence and insecurity in Ecuador “is not by chance,” but “a consequence of the abandonment, neglect, incompetence, and ineptitude of all these years.”
“They dismantled everything, they said the state was too big,” Correa said. “They eliminated the Coordinating Ministry of Security, they eliminated the Ministry of Justice that was in charge of prisons, now the prisons are under the control of the mafias. They eliminated the Ministry of the Interior [which was later reinstated] that was in charge of citizen security and police control.”
Facts and investigation
Villavicencio, 59 years old and presidential candidate for the Construye [Construct] movement, was shot while he was boarding a pickup truck after a campaign rally held in the auditorium of the Anderson School, located on Gaspar de Villarroel Avenue in Quito.
The attack also left nine people wounded, among them a candidate for the National Assembly and two policemen, according to the Attorney General’s Office, which has opened an investigation. It subsequently announced that six people have been arrested for being involved in the incident, during raids carried out in the Conocoto and San Bartolo sectors of Quito.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune