Ecuador was hit by another murder directed at another political leader, apart from that of Fernando Villavicencio. Both murders followed another fatal shooting of Agustin Intriago, the mayor of Manta, Ecuador’s third largest city, who had been recently re-elected to serve another term last May.
This time it was the turn of Pedrio Briones, a local leader of Revolución Ciudadana, the party of former President Rafael Correa. He was a political leader in a rural area of San Mateo de Esmeraldas. His fatal shooting, which occurred in the northern provice of Esmeraldas, was confirmed by Luisa González, the frontrunner in Sunday’s special presidential election and member of the same party. She tweeted:
“Ecuador is experiencing its bloodiest era. A heartfelt hug to the family of colleague Pedro Briones, fallen by the hands of violence.”
Ever since Ecuador has been transformed into a major drug trafficking hub and cartel-aided local gangs battle for street control, prisons and drug routes, crime and violence were on the rise, with thousands of people having been killed over the past three years.
Luisa Gonzales “criticized the government of President Guillermo Lasso for lacking control inside detention facilities, which she said prisoners and organized crime have turned into their productive and recreational centers. On Saturday 12th August, authorities moved the leader of one of the country’s most powerful gangs, Los Choneros, from a lower-security prison to a maximum-security prison within the same large complex of detention facilities in the port city of Guayaquil. Later, around 4000 soldiers and police officers raided the jail where Macas was being held and seized weapons, ammunition, and explosives.
“Villavicencio had accused this lethe group and its leader, Adolfo Macías, alias “Fito,” whom he linked to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, of threatening him and his campaign team days before the assassination.”
In response, inmates protested and hung signs demanding Macas’s release, protesting his release.
Authorities so far did not disclose details about Briones’s murder.
“The country’s National Police tallied 3,568 violent deaths in the first six months of this year, far more than the 2,042 reported during the same period in 2022. That year ended with 4,600 violent deaths, the country’s highest in history and double the total in 2021.”