A bomb damaged the headquarters of the ruling PAIS Alliance party in the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, late Monday night, which a PAIS legislator has labeled a “message of terror.”
The bombing took place around 10:40 p.m. Monday. No details were released regarding possible motives or suspects. While no one was injured, the bomb was strong enough to damage the concrete wall and sent debris into the adjacent street. PAIS legislator Bairon Valle said the explosion was felt in a three-block radius.
"This was not a household item,” Valle said, according to national newspaper El Telegrafo, “but a high-caliber bomb, strategically placed to destroy the entire first floor of the building."
Provincial Governor Julio Cesar Quinonez agreed with Valle’s assessment Tuesday morning on national TV, saying the explosive device was a result of “thoughtful planning," and that it was not a typical homemade bomb.
"So far what we know about the police investigation is that this was a bomb thrown at the headquarters of the country, is an well-planned, elaborate bomb, which worries us even more, it did not leave a container or traces behind … it was not a homemade bomb, but the result of thought and planning to create a well-developed bomb. We are expecting a report at noon."
Tensions in the South American country have been high since the government of Rafael Correa introduced two bills aimed at redistributing wealth and improving inequality in the country. Political opposition factions have largely rejected the president's calls for dialogue, choosing to engage instead in street protests, some of which have turned violent. To quell the unrest, President Correa opted to temporarily withdraw the bills in order to hold a nationwide debate about the aims of the bills and the direction of the country.
Valle said he is sorry this attack happened at a time when President Rafael Correa is trying to bring political sides together to have a national debate.
"We are concerned about divisive acts like this, which send messages of terror ... its a clear message the will is not there to discuss the issues, but rather to create commotion."
Viviana Bonilla, the Ecuadorean national secretary for political management, responded to the bombing on her Twitter account, saying, “Through dialogue everything, through force nothing. We should all reject violence.”