We have insisted on multiple occasions that counter-surveillance is the most effective measure to prevent all types of attacks against executives and people with high critical impact. Furthermore, we have emphasized that this measure is widely unknown and underutilized, which represents a serious strategic error and facilitates the work of criminals.
In cases such as the attack against Norberto Rivera in 2018, the Secretary of Citizen Security, Omar García Harfuch, in 2020, businessman Eduardo Beaven in 2021 and Gabriela Sanches and Ciro Gómez Leyva in 2022 (all in Mexico), subsequent investigations revealed that the victims had been under hostile surveillance for months prior to the attack, without being detected in time.
Another unfortunate example occurred recently on July 23 in Ecuador, when the popular mayor of Manta, Agustín Intriago, was assassinated during a public event in the neighborhood of 15 de Septiembre in Manta, Manabí province.
Weeks later, the Ecuadorian police revealed that the victim had been followed for several days by a blue van posing as a vendor of water in jerry cans.
This vehicle followed the mayor everywhere, until the last day he was killed, constantly providing information and guiding the assassin.
This tragic incident once again reinforces the need to focus our efforts on counter-surveillance, rather than reacting only to attacks. Attackers must watch and analyze their victim for an extended period of time before acting, which provides a perfect opportunity to detect them and thwart the attack before it occurs.
If there had been a counter-surveillance team, it would have been easy to detect a van of alleged water vendors that moved practically every day near the mayor. This shows us in a real situation how simple and effective counter-surveillance would have been in saving lives. It is imperative to shift the focus of the operation to counter-surveillance and early warning, as protection based on reaction alone is fatal.