Ecuador: The mayor of San Vicente found shot to death

The country's political class falls victim to the relentless violence perpetrated by drug trafficking gangs.

Brigitte García, mayor of the coastal town of San Vicente, in Ecuador, was fatally shot this Sunday, according to the Ecuadorian police. She is the latest elected official to be murdered in Ecuador. She was killed amidst the ongoing state of emergency declared by Daniel Noboa's government to combat criminal gangs.

Mayor Brigitte García, along with another member of San Vicente's local government, located in the province of Manabí in the eastern region of the country, was shot. According to the Ecuadorian police, both bodies were found lifeless inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds.

Police are investigating the crime scene and are working to extract as much evidence as possible. Brigitte García was a young 27-year-old politician, a member of the Citizen Revolution party, with socialist ideology. Former president Rafael Correa was a leader in the party.

Fight against drug trafficking

Ecuador is grappling with armed gangs, which are engaged in drug trafficking and operate predominantly on the country's Pacific coast. In this region, different gangs are fighting with the government over control of the city of Guayaquil.

Since January 2024, following the escape of the leader of the Los Choneros gang, President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency and enlisted the help of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces to assist law enforcement in combating armed gangs.

His strategy is compared to that of Nayib Bukele in El Salvador. While the government succeeded in temporarily mitigating the impact of gang violence, there has been a noticeable increase in violence targeting elected officials. A few months ago, the mayor of another coastal city, Manta, was also shot.

In Guayaquil, the gangs attacked the prosecutor who was leading the investigation against Fito, the leader of Los Choneros.