In an exclusive interview with CNN, Andrea González Náder, the successor and former running mate of slain Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, has described his assassination as a deeply unsettling moment for the region and global democracy.
Speaking to CNN’s Rafael Romo in the capital city of Quito, Náder expressed the shock and gravity of the situation: “The abrupt and violent assassination of a presidential candidate, particularly so close to the upcoming elections, leaves us with little time to fully comprehend its profound impact.”
Náder, who has assumed the role of presidential candidate for Villavicencio’s political party, Movimiento Construye, emphasized the broader significance of the incident: “This tragic event sends ripples of distress across the entire region and casts a shadow over the principles of democracy that the world holds dear.”
Villavicencio, an anti-corruption advocate and lawmaker, was shot dead during a campaign rally, adding to the rising tide of violence and criminal activities in Ecuador. In response to this escalation, Náder wore a bulletproof vest during her official candidacy acceptance ceremony.
The transition of leadership was determined by Villavicencio himself and the Movimiento Construye party, as stated in an online party announcement: “Andrea González Náder was chosen by Fernando Villavicencio and the Movimiento Construye to succeed him in the event of his absence.” The party’s decision to endorse Náder stems from her alignment with Villavicencio’s values and vision for the country.
The circumstances surrounding Villavicencio’s death raise questions about the efficacy of state-provided security. His widow, Veronica Sarauz, blamed the government for his assassination, asserting that they failed to ensure his safety despite being responsible for it. “The state’s negligence directly led to the tragic loss of my husband. They failed in their duty to protect him,” Sarauz declared at a press conference.
The late candidate, aged 59, was buried in a private ceremony at the Monteolivo cemetery in northern Quito, while the international community mourned his passing and condemned the violence.
The alleged shooter, who died in police custody after a confrontation with security personnel, was accompanied by six other individuals, all Colombian nationals believed to have connections with organized criminal factions.
While authorities have yet to establish definitive links between these criminal groups and Villavicencio’s assassination, the Ecuadorian Army Command has deployed 4,000 personnel – comprising 2,000 military members and 2,000 police officers – to the Zonal 8 Detention Center in Guayas province. This measure aims to regain control over weapons, ammunition, and explosives within the facility.
The relocation of high-profile inmate José Adolfo Macías Villamar, also known as “Fito,” from the prison to the La Roca maximum security facility has been ordered by President Guillermo Lasso. The decision followed the discovery of drugs, weapons, ammunition, and explosives within the Zonal 8 Detention Center. Macías had previously threatened Villavicencio and warned him against his campaign against gang violence.
Images released by the armed forces displayed the apprehension of Macías within the facility, but neither he nor his gang members have commented publicly on the assassination.
The tragic killing of Fernando Villavicencio stands as a stark reminder of the challenges facing Ecuador’s democracy and its struggle against organized crime and violence. As the nation prepares for the upcoming presidential elections on August 20, the aftermath of this event continues to shape the political landscape, leaving Ecuador and the world at large to grapple with its implications.
1. What happened to Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio? Fernando Villavicencio, an anti-corruption campaigner and presidential candidate, was tragically assassinated during a campaign rally in Ecuador.
2. Who is Andrea González Náder? Andrea González Náder is the successor and former running mate of Fernando Villavicencio. She has taken on the role of presidential candidate for Villavicencio’s political party, Movimiento Construye.
3. How did Náder react to Villavicencio’s assassination? In an exclusive interview with CNN, Andrea González Náder expressed shock and concern, describing the assassination as a disturbing moment for both the region and global democracy.
4. Why was Náder seen wearing a bulletproof vest? Andrea González Náder wore a bulletproof vest during her candidacy acceptance ceremony, likely due to the heightened tensions and concerns surrounding her safety following the assassination.
5. What is the significance of Villavicencio’s assassination for the region? Náder highlighted that the assassination of Villavicencio has broader implications, signaling a disturbing moment for the entire region and posing a challenge to democratic principles worldwide.
6. How was Náder chosen as the successor? According to an announcement by Movimiento Construye, Andrea González Náder was designated as the successor to Fernando Villavicencio, a decision made by Villavicencio and the party in the event of his absence.
7. What role did the state play in Villavicencio’s security? Villavicencio’s widow, Veronica Sarauz, blamed the state for her husband’s assassination, asserting that the government failed to adequately protect him despite their responsibility for his security.
8. How did the international community respond to Villavicencio’s assassination? The assassination prompted an outpouring of condemnation both within Ecuador and from around the world.
9. Who were the suspects involved in the assassination? The suspected shooter, who engaged in a firefight with security personnel, died in police custody. Additionally, six other individuals, all Colombian nationals, were arrested in connection with the killing, believed to be members of organized criminal groups.
10. Why were precautions taken in the Zonal 8 Detention Center? Authorities dispatched 4,000 personnel, including military members and police officers, to the Zonal 8 Detention Center in Guayas province to regain control over weapons, ammunition, and explosives within the prison. This action was taken as a preventive measure amidst concerns over escalating violence.
11. Who is José Adolfo Macías Villamar (“Fito”)? José Adolfo Macías Villamar, known by the alias “Fito,” is a high-profile prisoner convicted of drug trafficking and is incarcerated in the Zonal 8 Detention Center. He had reportedly threatened Villavicencio and warned him against campaigning against gang violence.
12. What was the outcome of Macías’ relocation? President Guillermo Lasso ordered the relocation of José Adolfo Macías Villamar and other dangerous prisoners to the La Roca maximum security prison after the discovery of drugs, weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Images released by the armed forces showed Macías being restrained and searched.
13. Have Macías and his gang members commented on the assassination? As of now, neither José Adolfo Macías Villamar nor his gang members have publicly commented on the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio.