NewsEcuador reels from murder of its youngest mayor amid drug violence

Ecuador reels from murder of its youngest mayor amid drug violence

Brigitte Garcia and her official found dead in a car
Brigitte Garcia and her official found dead in a car
Images source: © Ecuadorian police

3:53 AM EDT, March 25, 2024

In the streets of Ecuador, another tragic event has unfolded. Police discovered the body of 27-year-old Brigitte Garcia, who held the distinction of being the youngest mayor in the country, leading the canton of San Vicente in the Manabi province.
The lifeless body of Brigitte Garcia was found on Sunday morning inside a rented SUV, as reported by "Onet." Alongside her, the body of Jairo Loora, a subordinate official and director responsible for communication, was also found.
The police investigation revealed that shots were fired from inside the vehicle. Personal belongings were found with the victims, indicating that robbery was not the motive, according to a report by Onet, citing the website Primicias. The murder has prompted a response from the Ecuadorian government, which condemned the act and stated its cooperation with the police and prosecutor's office, extending condolences to the victims' families.
"I am at a loss for words; I am in shock. In Ecuador, no one is safe. Meanwhile, the right-wing governments only live for parties and for show," Luisa Gonzalez, a former presidential candidate of Ecuador, expressed her dismay on Twitter.
Garcia was associated with the leftist Revolutionary Citizens' Party, founded by former President Rafael Correa. Her untimely death brings back memories of the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio last August and a series of killings targeting other politicians.
Ecuador currently ranks as one of the most dangerous countries in South America. It shares borders with Colombia and Peru, the two leading cocaine producers globally. This geographic location has made Ecuador a critical point for criminals trafficking drugs to Europe and the United States.
In response to the escalating violence, President Noboa declared a state of emergency at the start of January, deploying the military to combat drug gangs, which he dubbed as terrorist organizations, as per Onet's reports. A curfew and strict movement restrictions were also put in place.
Despite these measures, authorities note a decrease in brutal crime rates. The website Primicias points out that this murder is the first since the state of emergency was declared, highlighting the challenges the country still faces in ensuring safety and security for its citizens.
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