Report on the Political Situation of Ecuador

By Morales & Asociados y Péndulo

The last few weeks have been particularly tumultuous for the country in general, and for the government of Guillermo Lasso in particular.

The results of the sectional elections, the constitutional referendum, and the elections for members of the Citizen Participation and Social Control Council were not favorable for the government and worsened a crisis that has been going on since last year.

In addition, there are new allegations of supposed acts of corruption that implicate Danilo Carrera, the brother-in-law of President Guillermo Lasso.

“Gran Padrino Case”: The beginning of the end?

The allegations surrounding the case known as “Gran Padrino” – which began with revelations made by the La Posta portal – have reached their highest point.

This case, which reveals alleged links between the Albanian mafia and the national government – through Rubén Cherres, a close friend of Danilo Carrera, the President’s brother-in-law – has reached the National Assembly.

The first leaks revealed by La Posta reported on an alleged network that operated within public companies and certain government institutions. The objective would have been to allow people close to Cherres to infiltrate key institutions.

The Anti-Corruption Parliamentary Front – formed by Fernando Villavicencio, Sofía Sánchez, and other lawmakers – has already denounced that in some of the companies in which Chérres appears as a shareholder, the Albanian Dritan Gjika, the alleged head of the Albanian mafia, is also involved.

Among the individuals involved in the La Posta allegations was Hernán Luque, former president of the board of directors of the Public Companies Coordinating Company (EMCO) between July 2021 and December 2022, appointed by Guillermo Lasso.

Other people involved:

  • General Geovanny Ponce, who was in charge of Antinarcotics
  • General Mauro Vargas, who was in charge of Police Intelligence
  • Tanya Varela, who was the General Commander of the Police
  • José Luis Erazo, Lieutenant Colonel who led the investigation
  • Tanlly Vera, former Minister of Agriculture
  • Bernardo Manzano, former Minister of Agriculture
  • Aparicio Caicedo, former honorary advisor to the Government,
  • Guillermo Lasso Alcívar, son of the President.

Leonardo Cortázar was also pointed out as the informant and alleged operator of the corruption network in CNEL, who is related to Xavier Jordán, one of the main suspects in the corruption scheme at the Teodoro Maldonado Hospital in Guayaquil; now he is a fugitive from justice.

Is an impeachment trial possible?

The plot explained above led to the creation of an occasional commission in the National Assembly to investigate the allegations made by  the Ecuadorian media “La Posta”. On the afternoon of March 1st, with six votes in favor and one against, the commission approved a non-binding report recommending that President Guillermo Lasso shall be impeached. On March 16th with 59 votes the National Assembly submitted the petition for impeachment

In this text, you can read in more detail about the process for criminally impeaching the President of the Republic.

Scenarios that could lead to an early termination of Guillermo Lasso’s presidency, besides impeachment:

Impeachment is not the only way that can lead to an early termination of the Guillermo Lasso’s presidency. There are other scenarios that can accelerate the process:

  • Protests and social pressure:
  • Crossed death invoked by the National Assembly:
  • Cross-death summoned by Guillermo Lasso: dissolution of the National Assembly.
  • INA Papers case.
  • Electoral results of the “correísmo”: Did it come back to stay?
  • Petroecuador restarted pumping through the Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System (SOTE) after concluding repairs on the pipeline.
  • Lengthening of the Avian flu emergency.
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