Following election defeat, Citizens Revolution is rocked by Jorge Glas relationship scandal
By Liam Higgins
Less than two weeks after losing the presidential election, the Citizens Revolution may be facing an even bigger challenge to its future.
A scandal involving former vice president Jorge Glas and his relationship with a female assistant was revealed in audio recordings and text messages within hours after the election. The messages, which implicate party founder and former president Rafael Correa, have prompted the resignation of the party chairman and are threatening to divide the CR delegation in the National Assembly.
The basis of the scandal is Glas’ relationship with Soledad Padilla, that dates to his tenure as vice president during the Correa government.
Padilla is claiming that Glas threatened her after she ended their relationship and began new one with recently reelected CR Assemblyman Ferdinan Álvarez. Padilla went public with her claim on Oct. 11, charging the ex-vice president with psychological abuse. Glas responded with a counter-complaint for extortion, seven days later.
In the fallout from the claims, Álvarez announced his resignation from CR on Monday. This followed the resignation a week earlier of party chair Marcela Aguiñaga.
The audio recordings leaked on social media reveal the party’s efforts to keep the scandal hidden until after the election. In one recording, Correa is heard saying that details of the Glas – Padilla affair should be kept quiet “at all costs.” An unidentified participant in one of the recordings suggests the party should pay Padilla “hush money.”
Padilla was hired by Glas in 2009 and served in various official capacities in the Correa government. According to the Comptroller’s Office, she worked in the Coordinating Ministry of Strategic Sectors, the National Electoral Council, Petroamazonas and the vice president’s office until Glas left office in October 2017. It is not known when the two began a personal relationship.
Following Glas’ conviction on charges of bribery and illicit association in 2017, Padilla continued to provide “personal services and companionship” while the vice president served his prison term. During his incarceration, Glas found work for Padilla with the Pichincha Prefect’s office.
Glas is currently out of prison, pending an appeal, a process that could be complicated by Padilla’s charges against him.
According to Assemblyman Álvarez, Glas has been divisive figure within the Citizens Revolution movement for years and the recent revelations bring the issue to the surface. “He has been celebrated as a hero and a martyr within the party but this conceals concerns many of us have had about him,” Álvarez said in a radio interview following his resignation from CR. “This is not good for the party, and it is not good for Rafael Correa.”
Álvarez says he has heard the threats Glas made to Padilla and called them “frightening and vicious.” He adds: “Unfortunately for Citizens Revolution, there is more to come with this story, especially about the attempts to keep it quiet.”