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News > Latin America

Ecuador: Candidate for Mayor is Killed on the Eve of Elections

  • Citizen Revolution candidate Omar Menendez.

    Citizen Revolution candidate Omar Menendez. | Photo: Twitter/ @complicefm

Published 5 February 2023

"President Lasso, take charge of your misrule and your inability... Step aside, if you do not know how to govern or how to guarantee our lives," the Citizen Revolution movement said.

On Saturday afternoon, the candidate for mayor of Puerto Lopez, a city in the coastal province of Manabi, was shot to death on the eve of Ecuador's subnational elections.


Ecuadorians Get Ready for the Subnational Elections on Sunday

Omar Menedez was a candidate for the leftist Citizen Revolution (RC) movement, whose top leader is former President Rafael Correa.

"We demand the respective investigation and sanction from the authorities. The country is bleeding to death. This is unprecedented. Enough!" Correa said and sent a supportive hug to the Menendez family and the leftist militants in Manabi.

Faced with the wave of murders that Ecuador is experiencing, the RC movement also energetically rejected what happened and demanded that President Guillermo Lasso guarantee the safety of all candidates.

"Mr. Lasso, take charge of your misrule and your inability. We cannot take this wave of violence anymore... Step aside, if you do not know how to govern or how to guarantee our lives," it said. 

The tweet posted by Pabel Muñoz, the candidate for mayor of Quito, reads, "Deep pain at the murder of comrade Omar Menendez, the Citizen Revolution candidate for Mayor of Puerto Lopez. My hug in solidarity with his family and the Manabi people. Violence is incompatible with democracy. We demand justice and truth."

A few hours after Menendez's murder, a group of armed men dressed in black and hooded posted a video claiming responsibility for the crime. They presented themselves as "vigilantes" who would cleanse Manabi from people allegedly linked to drug trafficking. Such a statement, however, covers up the reality of an obviously political crime.

On Jan. 21, Julio Cesar Farachio, a candidate for mayor of the city of Salinas in the Santa Elena province, was also assassinated while carrying out political activities. A day later, Interior Minister Juan Zapata announced the arrest of the alleged mastermind of his murder.

On Sunday, some 13.4 million Ecuadorians are summoned to choose 23 provincial prefects, 221 mayors, 864 urban councilors, 443 rural councilors, and 4,109 parish council members.

Citizens will also elect 7 members of the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS) and will participate in an 8-question referendum called by President Lasso.

This referendum seeks to modify the Constitution in matters related to security, control institutions, and the environment.

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