US Secretary of State Blinken introduced the reward as a part of an ongoing probe into Fernando Villavicencio’s dying.
The USA has introduced a reward of as much as $5m for info into the killing of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
“A number of assassins attacked Mr Villavicencio, the Movimiento Construye social gathering’s presidential candidate within the 2023 elections, as he left a Quito marketing campaign occasion on August 9,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken defined in an announcement on Thursday.
The assassination despatched shockwaves by means of Ecuador, which was, on the time, 11 days away from holding its normal elections.
Blinken’s assertion comes within the lead-up to a run-off election on October 15 to find out Ecuador’s subsequent president.
“The USA will proceed to help the individuals of Ecuador and work to carry to justice people who search to undermine democratic processes by means of violent crime,” Blinken mentioned.
Villavicencio, a former journalist, joined the race as an anticorruption candidate after years as a distinguished critic of former President Rafael Correa and his allies.
However on the conclusion of his August 9 marketing campaign rally, he was shot within the head as he entered his automobile. One suspect was additionally killed, as safety on the occasion returned fireplace.
Six additional suspects, all from Colombia, stay within the custody of the Ecuadorian Nationwide Police. They’re believed to be a part of an organised crime unit, in response to Blinken’s assertion.
In recent times, Ecuador has been within the grip of escalating violence, significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic considerably weakened the nation’s financial system.
Consultants say gangs have taken benefit of the financial insecurity to develop their attain into Ecuador, a rustic positioned on the Pacific coast between main cocaine-producing areas in Colombia and Peru.
Consequently, the variety of homicides has skyrocketed, rising by 500 p.c between 2016 and 2022, in response to the Reuters information company. That places Ecuador among the many nations with the best charges of homicide in Latin America — a stark distinction to Ecuador’s earlier repute as a rustic with comparatively low violence.
The nation has additionally just lately endured political upheaval as President Guillermo Lasso turned the primary president to invoke “muerte cruzada” or “mutual dying”, an influence set forth within the structure.
“Mutual dying” permits a president to dissolve Ecuador’s Nationwide Meeting — if she or he agrees to carry new elections for each the legislature and the presidency.
Lasso introduced “mutual dying” within the face of impeachment proceedings this previous Could. He won’t be looking for reelection.
As a substitute, the race has come right down to left-leaning Correa protegee Luisa Gonzalez and former Nationwide Meeting member Daniel Noboa, a businessman and son of a rich banana business chief.
Safety and political violence have been central marketing campaign points as the ultimate two candidates court docket voters earlier than the October 15 vote.
Lasso, in the meantime, introduced in August that he had sought the help of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist Ecuadorian police examine Villavicencio’s dying.
“The investigation, supported by the FBI, continues to determine others concerned within the assassination,” Blinken mentioned on Thursday.