Valencia, presidential candidate for the Construye lista 25 movement, was killed by hitmen and shot three times in the head. The attack took place in the coliseum of the Anderson school, in the north of the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, where the candidate was holding a rally of the political organization that supports him.
The attack occurred around 18:00, and several people were injured. The National Police mounted an operation to locate those responsible for the incident.
His uncle, Galo Valencia, confirmed what happened to former Assemblyman Villavicencio, who after the attack was taken to a hospital, seriously injured. "My nephew has just passed away here at the Women's Clinic", said Valencia when notifying about the confirmation of the medical team.
�� Fernando Villavicencio Valencia, candidato a la presidencia de Ecuador, fue asesinado durante un ataque de sicarios mientras salía de un acto político, según informó el medio local El Universo. Recibió tres disparos en la cabeza en el momento en el que ingresó a su vehículo. pic.twitter.com/Adamllik9B
The tweet reads, "Fernando Villavicencio Valencia, candidate for the presidency of Ecuador, was killed during an attack by hired assassins as he was leaving a political event, according to local media El Universo. He was shot three times in the head as he entered his vehicle."
Villavicencio's uncle present at the time of the attack said that "coming out (of the school where the rally was taking place) we received a burst of 40 shots, Fernando unfortunately received a shot apparently in the head."
Villavicencio was one of the candidates who received protection from the National Police. He had denounced a week earlier the alleged threats that his collaborators had received from an organized crime group, namely Los Choneros.
The presidential candidate was born in the province of Chimborazo on October 11, 1963. His political career began as a journalist and political activist when he denounced cases of corruption within Petroecuador.
In the 2017 elections he tried to run for the Creo and Suma alliance, but the National Electoral Council did not allow him to do so after a challenge raised by Gustavo Baroja, who denounced that Villavicencio was affiliated to Pachakutik.
The attack takes place 11 days before the elections in a country suffocated by an unprecedented crisis. During the campaign, the mayor of Manta, a key port for drug trafficking, and a candidate for the Assembly have been murdered.
After receiving the news of Villavicencio's murder, the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, expressed his solidarity and condolences to the presidential candidate's family. Lasso assured that, because of his memory and his struggle, the crime will not go unpunished. "Organized crime has gone too far, but the full weight of the law will fall on them," said Lasso.