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Threats from Los Choneros cartel preceded murder of Ecuadorian leader Villavicencio

By Harsh Thakor 

On 9th of August, Fernando Villavicencio, presidential candidate of Ecuador, was assassinated in cold blood when departing from a political rally at Anderson College in Quito. Approximately 30 gunshots were fired and around nine people were injured in the attack, including the presidential candidate and two police officers. Last week, Villavicencio condemned threats from the “Los Choneros” cartel, whose dissident group, “Los Lobos” claimed responsibility for the attack against the presidential candidate.
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, in a statement declared last Thursday, 10/08, decreed a state of exception in the country and stated that the elections will take place in a normal way on 20th of August and that the murder of Fernando Villavicencio was “the best reason to vote and defend democracy”.
Guillermo Lasso, on 17th of May of this year, dissolved parliament and called for launching new elections to thwart his termination. Lasso was accused of looting of public money to promote oil transport contracts. Facing a serious political crisis in Ecuador, Lasso was disapproved by 80% of the population and, with the possibility of being removed from the presidency; he adopted a measure called “cross death”, which permits the president to govern by decree until the calling of new elections. A deep political and institutional crisis has permeated Ecuador in recent months. Through issuing a decree, Lasso approved of the reactionary “tax reform” that, acts in contravention to the interests of the popular masses, but patronises the ensuring of economic stability to the ruling classes.
In recent months, Ecuador has been the centre of a deep political, economic, social, and security crisis with number of violent attack s escalating in this period. Just during the electoral campaign, the Mayor of Manta, one of the largest cities in the country, was murdered by armed men. A candidate for the national assembly, Rider Sánchez, was also shot dead n Quinindé, Esmeraldas on July 17.
Progressive presidential candidate Luisa González from the Citizen Revolution Movement party stated “Beyond a political flag, political differences are resolved at the ballot box, not with violence,” stated González while ending the meeting.
This political assault, within complex scenario of economic, political, institutional and military crisis, is an illustration of the escalated degeneration of the system of exploitation and oppression in whole Latin America.
“In the subcontinent, hunger increased by 13.2 million people, reaching a total of 56.5 million in 2021”, according to the report “Regional Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Latin America”, produced by the United Nations (UN) for Food and Agriculture (FAO) and released at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, “more than 131 million people cannot afford to eat in a healthy way. The Latin America and Caribbean region’s total debt rose to $5.8 trillion – or 117% of GDP in the whole region over the past year. During the pandemic, public debt increased to more than 70% of GDP in Latin American nations.”
With the widening of the economic crisis, the political and social crisis in Latin America is accentuating. The survey released this year by Latinobarómetro assessed the political situation in 17 countries and concluded that Latin America is experiencing a “democratic recession”, pointing to scale of political instability and the ascendancy of the far-right regimes. In a report, the organization points out that “among these 17 countries, 21 presidents were convicted of corruption and 20 did not complete their terms. Other presidents, by applying measures of greater political centralization in the Executive wanted to continue in the government but actually they deepened the political instability, for example in the case of Lasso in Ecuador.”
This crystallisation illustrates the intensity of general economic and political crisis that has aggravated the world today, especially in Latin America. The killing manifests the tearing of the fabric of bourgeois or constitutional democracy and demonstrates that the crisis of the old order remains intact.
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Harsh Thakor is freelance journalist. Thanks information from Red Herald, Peoples Dispatch and A Nova Democracia

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