Gabriela Rivadeneira at the press conference in Quito. Photo: AndesGabriela Rivadeneira, the head of the Ecuadorean National Assembly, announced Wednesday that she was sent a lethal explosive device in the mail. »Today I received in my office an envelope addressed to me with a CD that turned out to be a medium-range explosive with lethal capability.« According to Rivadeneira, the first female head of the National Assembly and former member of Pachakutik, the device »fortunately did not explode« and is now being investigated by district attorney’s office.

Victor Hugo Zarate, head of security, explained the type of explosive — RDX and Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, known as PENT — is designed to kill specific targets. PENT is considered one of the most lethal explosives on the market.

In the wake of the assassination attempt, Rivadeneira has called for greater respect and tolerance, sharing on Twitter that »independently of whatever political difference, what must take precedence is life and respect for the integrity of all human beings.« »In politics, there are no enemies but rather adversaries and in this context, I make a call for peaceful coexistence,« she added.

The bomb threat comes just four days before Ecuador heads to the polls to elect a new president. On Sunday, Feb 19, Ecuadoreans will cast their ballots for president and members of the National Assembly and also vote on a referendum on whether to block elected officials and public servants from stashing wealth in offshore tax havens.

Rivadeneira is a member of the ruling party Alianza Pais, which under President Rafael Correa has made major social gains for the country’s most marginalized.

Source: TeleSur / RedGlobe