Ecuador’s Youngest Mayor Found Shot Dead

( – On March 24, San Vicente, Ecuador, mayor Brigitte Garcia, 27, along with Jairo Loor, her communications director, were found dead in a car parked on the side of a road in the province of Manabi.

According to the National Police, the two had gunshot wounds, and it appeared as though the gunfire originated inside the rented vehicle, which was equipped with a GPS system that was tracking the car.

A member of former President Rafael Correa’s Citizen Revolution Movement party, Garcia was the youngest mayor in the history of Ecuador.

The party’s presidential candidate in the country’s most recent election, Luisa Gonzalez, and Correa responded to the news of Garcia’s death in a post on Twitter, saying that she was “assassinated.” In the post, Gonzalez said, “nobody is safe in Ecuador, NOBODY.”

On Twitter, the Municipality of San Vicente responded to Garcia’s death, writing that “her indomitable spirit, her humanity,” and her efforts to make the world a better place, would be remembered.

In one of her last posts on Twitter, Garcia discussed a new project that would bring water to her municipality, writing on March 21 that “a brighter future for our community” is being built.

Authorities have blamed a wave of violence across Ecuador on drug trafficking. In January, a state of emergency was declared in Ecuador by President Daniel Noboa after a spike in violence, including armed men invading a TV station during a live broadcast. After “Los Choneros” leader Adolfo “Fito” Macias escaped from prison, Noboa designated 22 criminal groups as terrorist organizations, giving orders to “neutralize” criminal gangs. Due to the ongoing violence, Noboa extended the state of emergency in early March.

Garcia is not the only political figure from Ecuador to be killed. In August, two weeks before the election, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated after attending a campaign event. Villavicencio was a vocal critic of organized crime and corruption.

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