Attorney General receives death threat; Many poor children are unschooled; Vilcabamba expat is murdered; 13 listed missing in Alausí found alive
In a survey of 4,000 poor and vulnerable families living in and near Quito, almost 20% of school-aged children were found not to be attending classes. Parents and custodians told Ecuador’s Secretariat of Inclusion that the children were needed to work to support their families.
“Although the study focus is on Quito, its findings almost certainly apply to the rest of the country as well. This is very disturbing and requires a strong response from authorities,” said Inclusion Secretary Fernando Sánchez Cobo. “Most of the families we talked to told us that the children were needed to work as street vendors or to perform farm duties in rural areas. Reducing these troubling numbers should be a primary object of the next government.”
He added that Ecuador’s Code of Children and Adolescents requires updating and that new funding must be found to address the issue of unschooled children. He said data from the 2022 census, which will not be available until later this year, is necessary for developing new policies.
In addition to not attending classes on a regular basis, the Secretariat of Inclusion survey also found that 24% of the children suffer hunger and malnutrition.
Vilcabamba expat killed in home invasion
A Colorado native and mother of three was murdered during a violent home invasion in Vilcabamba May 20. Francesca Williams was at her farm with her husband, Michael, three teenage daughters and father when a group of armed men entered her property.
Michael Williams said he was standing outside when he was hit, possibly with a brick, causing him to collapse to the ground. His father-in-law, who suffers from emphysema and dementia, was stabbed multiple times but survived.
Francesca was hanging laundry in her yard when she attempted to stop the attack on her father and was shot twice in the back, wounds she later died from. The Williamses’ daughters were not physically harmed in the intrusion.
In a statement following the murder, the U.S. Consulate of Ecuador issued a statement condemning the attack. It said that although U.S. citizens living in Ecuador are rarely victims of violent crime, those living in Vilcabamba have been subject to a series of home invasions in recent years, at least four of them deadly. Source: Fox News
13 of those missing in Alausí landslide found alive
The National Risk Management office reports that 13 people initially listed as missing in the Alausí landslide have been found alive. According to regional Risk Management Director Julián Tucumbi, most of the 13 were found living with friends and relatives in other communities.
“The list we compiled of the missing came from word-of-mouth reports in the disaster area and information was difficult to corroborate given the circumstances,” Tucumbi said. “In the two months following the landslide, we have obtained more reliable information and have updated our count.”
As of Monday, 58 people have been declared dead as a result of the landside with 18 still listed as missing.
Attorney General receives death threat
Ecuador Attorney General Diana Salazar is being provided additional police protection following death threats against her and her daughter.
In a video message sent Thursday by cell phone to Salazar, a hooded man is seen saying, “If you don’t leave for good, you will leave for bad, permanently. We will kill you.” The man says Salazar’s daughter will be killed first. “We will make you watch and suffer before we kill you.”
The death threat was made amid attempts to remove Salazar from the Attorney General position, a post she has held since 2019. She has been accused of plagiarizing parts of her university undergraduate thesis, a claim that is under review.
On Thursday, President Guillermo Lasso said that Salazar has his “full support and respect” and believes she will be cleared of all accusations.