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The youngest mayor in Ecuador’s history, 27-year-old Brigitte Garcia, was found shot dead along with her communications director, Jairo Loor, in a car on the side of a road in the province of Manabi. The police are investigating the deaths, suspecting that the gunfire came from inside the car. The vehicle they were in was rented and had a GPS system being tracked. Garcia was a member of the Citizen Revolution Movement party led by former President Rafael Correa, and her death has been described as an assassination by party members.

Ecuador is currently experiencing a wave of violence attributed to drug trafficking, and Garcia’s death is the latest in a series of targeted killings of political figures in the country. Last August, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated just two weeks before the election. President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in January due to the rise in violent incidents, including armed men invading a television station during a live broadcast. Noboa has designated 22 criminal groups as terrorist organizations and extended the state of emergency earlier this month.

The government of Ecuador has condemned Garcia’s killing and assured that they are working with the national police to conduct a swift investigation. The Municipality of San Vicente, where Garcia served as mayor, expressed shock and grief at her death, remembering her as a dedicated public servant with an indomitable spirit. Garcia’s social media posts reflected her commitment to improving her community, as she was working on a water project to provide access to clean water for her constituents. Correa and the party’s presidential candidate, Luisa Gonzalez, expressed shock and concern over the increasing violence in Ecuador.

The assassination of Brigitte Garcia highlights the dangers faced by political figures in Ecuador, with critics of corruption and organized crime being particularly vulnerable. The ongoing violence in the country has raised concerns about public safety and the ability of the government to address the root causes of the problem. The international community, including the US Embassy, is monitoring the situation closely and offering support to Ecuador in their efforts to investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice. The tragic death of Garcia serves as a reminder of the risks associated with public service in countries plagued by violence and instability.

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