Vatican City, Aug 12, 2023 / 09:30 am
After Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was gunned down at a campaign rally this week, Pope Francis appealed for a unified effort for peace in the country plagued by drug-related violence.
The pope sent a condolence telegram to Archbishop Alfredo Espinoza Mateus of Quito on Aug. 12 in which he condemned the assassination “with all his strength” and expressed his deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased and “all of the beloved Ecuadorian people.”
Villavicencio, 59, was assassinated on Wednesday night at a campaign event only ten days before the first round of voting in Ecuador’s presidential election. The politician had been an outspoken critic of the violence caused by drug trafficking.
Immediately following the assassination, the Ecuadorian bishops’ conference condemned the act of violence, while pledging to support initiatives to restore public safety and to “pray and work for peace based on freedom, justice, and truth.”