The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has been enlisted by Ecuador’s president, who has also declared three days of mourning.
With violence surging in Ecuador, particularly along drug trafficking routes, the armed forces are being deployed nationwide to ensure security during the electoral process. Mr. Villavicencio’s party has denounced the political use of his death and called for a swift investigation.
An unverified video, allegedly from a gang called “Los Lobos”, surfaced on social media claiming responsibility for the killing. Ecuador has been dealing with a surge in violent crimes, with 3,500 recorded in the first half of the year.
President Guillermo Lasso has faced criticism for his failure to control the violence, despite deploying the military to patrol the streets. In the wake of Villavicencio’s death, the focus on security, employment, and migration has intensified in the presidential contest.