Pope Meets President of Ecuador Six Months Later His Political Rival Is Assassinated

21 JAN 2023

Holy See Press Office Communiqué 

This morning, Saturday 21 January 2023, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the President of the Republic of Ecuador, His Excellency Mr. Guillermo Lasso Mendoza, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations. During the cordial discussions, which took place in the Secretariat of State, appreciation was expressed for the contribution offered by the Church in the spheres of education, health, the promotion of human and spiritual values, and in the field of charitable activities, emphasizing the importance of a sincere and ongoing dialogue between the Church and the State to face fundamental changes in society. In addition, there was a fruitful exchange of views on the political and social situation in the region, with attention to the efforts aimed at fostering development and promoting peace, and the parties focused on some matters of common interest such as the protection of life, care for childhood, the reform of the prison system, respect for indigenous populations and their culture, and the protection of the environment. Source

9 AUG 2023

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — An Ecuadorian presidential candidate known for speaking up against corruption was shot and killed Wednesday at a political rally in the capital amid a wave of startling violence in the South American country President Guillermo Lasso confirmed the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio and suggested organized crime was behind his slaying. Villavicencio was one of eight candidates in the Aug. 20 presidential vote, though not the frontrunner. The politician, 59, was the candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement. “I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished,” Lasso said in a statement. “Organized crime has gone too far, but they will feel the full weight of the law.” Source