Following the very public femicide of a pregnant Ecuadorian woman by her partner, a Venezuelan immigrant, violent protests have erupted among Ecuadorian citizens who are demanding a crackdown on immigration from Venezuela. After the start of the protests, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno announced that new measures would be considered to limit immigration and that security forces would be deployed to monitor Venezuelan immigrants. These public reactions to the murder, and Moreno’s response, have been harshly criticized by those who view them as xenophobic against innocent Venezuelans.
When Ecuador held an election to choose their next president in mid-February, candidate Lenín Moreno had a clear advantage over the seven other contenders, with over 10% more of the vote than the runner-up, Guillermo Lasso. But when Moreno’s final share of the vote, at 39.36%, came up just short of the 40% needed to win, it became clear that a runoff election would be needed. Suddenly a victory by Moreno was not such a sure thing, and polls started to point to a possible triumph by rival Lasso.