Kidnapped Municipal Councillor Found Dead in Ecuador, Raising Concerns Over Political Violence

Kidnapped Municipal Councillor Found Dead in Ecuador, Raising Concerns Over Political Violence

The body of Bolivar Vera, a municipal councilor for Duran in Ecuador, was discovered in a vacant lot near a rural road. Vera had been reported missing one day prior and was found with his hands bound and clothes bloodied. According to law enforcement sources cited by El Universo newspaper, Vera had been shot multiple times in the chest and face.

Vera was a member of Ecuador’s right-wing Social Christian Party, which criticized the outgoing administration for failing to address the escalating crime rate in the country. In recent years, Ecuador has experienced a significant increase in violent crime, with drug cartels and criminal organizations gaining influence. From the beginning of the year to early July, the country recorded nearly 3,568 violent deaths, marking a 75 percent increase compared to the same period the previous year.

The United Nations attributes the rise in violence to factors such as the country’s deteriorating economy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poverty is identified as the root cause, leading to a lack of job opportunities and poor education, making young people vulnerable to criminal gangs. Gangs have been extorting small businesses, disrupting education, and creating an atmosphere of fear and despair, prompting some Ecuadorians to leave the country.

With the upcoming presidential run-off scheduled for October 15, crime has become a central issue in the election campaign. Left-wing candidate Luisa Gonzalez has been vocal about wearing a bulletproof vest during campaign events due to security concerns. Vera’s death is the latest in a series of high-profile political assassinations in Ecuador, including the killing of a presidential candidate and a left-wing political leader.

The Organization of American States (OAS) expressed concern about the violence’s impact on the upcoming presidential race, noting that candidates have had to wear bulletproof vests, limiting their ability to campaign freely. The OAS also highlighted threats and insults directed towards electoral authorities, which could undermine election integrity.
The mayor of Duran, Luis Chonillo, called for three days of mourning and criticized President Lasso for not adequately protecting political figures. Chonillo cited an increase in deaths since the declaration of a state of emergency in certain provinces in July, including the murder of the city’s director of planning and an attack targeting himself.

Author: CrimeDoor

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