Ecuadorian Mayor Found Dead in Rented Car

Trent Barr
Trent Barr
Trent has years of experience and training in open source intelligence gathering and journalism. He specializes in Latin American, German, and Vatican affairs, with a broader interest in European politics. Trent serves as the Latin America Desk Chief for Atlas News.

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A Killing:

An Ecuadorian mayor was found dead from gunshot wounds by authorities alongside an advisor in a rented car in San Vicente, a city located in Ecuador’s western Manabí Province.

The mayor, Brigitte Garcia, was Ecuador’s youngest serving mayor and a member of the country’s leftist Citizen Revolution Party, while her advisor, Jairo Loor, was the municipality’s communications director.

Following the discovery, investigators uncovered that the shots that ended the two’s lives came from within the vehicle, while no firearm was noted to have been discovered at the scene of the crime.

Authorities and onlookers arrive at the scene. (Photo – X/Policia Ecuador)

Luisa Gonzalez, the Citizen Revolution Party’s Presidential Candidate who came in second in the race against current President Daniel Noboa claimed the death of Garcia was an assassination before claiming that Noboa’s government was to blame.

“I’ve just found out they’ve assassinated our fellow mayor of San Vicente Brigitte Garcia,” Gonzalez said in a post on X, “I have no words, in shock, no one is safe in Ecuador NO ONE while the miserable governments of the Right only live on party and show.”

The Ongoing Crisis:

These deaths come amid the ongoing gang crisis within Ecuador which followed the escape of infamous gang leader Jose “Fito” Macias from a prison in Guayaquil. Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa declared a nationwide state of emergency, mobilizing the nation’s military and establishing a curfew in response to the escape, which may have prompted the violent reaction by gang members. Following the escape, riots broke out in prisons located in El Oro, Loja, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Azuay, and Pichincha, where 177 prison guards were taken hostage by prisoners in January but were later released. After the outbreak of violence, President Noboa issued a presidential decree that recognized “the existence of an internal armed conflict,” classifying the gangs as terrorist organizations.

President Daniel Noboa during an interview with the BBC. (Photo – Ecuador’s Presidency Office)

The gangs classified as terrorist groups include Aguilas, AguilasKiller, Ak47, Caballeros Oscuros, ChoneKiller, Choneros, Corvicheros, Cartel de las Feas, Cubanos, Fatales, Ganster, Kater Piler, Lagartos, Latin Kings, Lobos, Los P.27, Los Tiburones, Mafia 18, Mafia Trébol, Patrones, R7, and Tiguerones.

Shortly after the emergency was declared, gunmen stormed the studio of Ecuadorian television station TC during a live broadcast, taking hostages on Tuesday. The gunmen were seen pointing firearms directly at the captured news crew before police reasserted control over the station later that day. Further reports of gunmen were said to have been seen on the University of Guayaquil campus, prompting crowds to flee the area.

A Crusade Against Corruption:

While some believe the recent reaction from Ecuadorian gangs is in response to President Noboa’s mobilization, others point to the nation’s Attorney General, Diana Salazar, as a possible source of the gangs’ irritation.

Weeks before the crisis, Salazar had launched a multitude of raids against officials who thought of cooperating with the gangs, which included judges, politicians, prosecutors, police, and a former prison chief. Salazar stated that the investigation, dubbed “metastasis,” a term used to describe the spread of malignant growth, would surely be responded to with “an escalation of violence” from criminal organizations.

Diane Salazar, Ecuador’s current Attorney-General, has contributed to numerous anti-corruption cases throughout her career (Photo – dianasalazarmendez.com)

The investigation began in 2022 following the murder of drug lord Leandro Norero, who was killed while serving time in prison. Investigators searched Norero’s phone, discovering evidence of high-ranking state officials cooperating with Norero while handing out favors in exchange for money, gold, prostitutes, apartments, and other luxuries.

Following her investigation, over 75 raids were launched against those who cooperated with Norero, and dozens of suspects were arrested.