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In a stormy session, Ecuador’s National Assembly ousts its president, begins impeachment against Attorney General

Ecuador’s National Assembly has fired its president, José Serrano, and ordered an impeachment trial for Attorney General Carlos Baca. In a marathon session Friday night in which both Serrano and Baca were allowed to present a defense, the assembly voted overwhelming to dismiss Serrano although 31 members of the 137-member body did not attend.

Jose Serrano

Within minutes of the vote Elizabeth Cabezas appeared poised to replace Serrano. Like Serrano, she is a member of Alianza País (AP), the largest voting bloc in the assembly. President Lenin Moreno sent a message to the Assembly, supporting Cabezas’ candidancy.

The assembly action was prompted by charges made by Baca in press a conference two weeks ago in which he accused Serrano and a former federal comptroller of plotting to remove him from office. Baca released a tape recording of a phone conversation between Serrano and Carlos Polit, accused of taking $10 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, who currently lives in exile in Miami. On the tape, Serrano and Polit talk about documents that Polit says will implicate Baca in an embezzlement scheme and force his resignation.

Carlos Baca

The intent of Baca’s removal, according to comments in the tape, appear aimed at clearing the way for a presidential run by Serrano. In the comments, Serrano says that Baca also has presidential ambitions.

The vote to remove Serrano and begin impeachment proceedings against Baca was 103 in favor and three abstentions.

The embezzlement charges against Baca are being investigated by Assistant Attorney General Thania Moreno, and stem from a 2010 police strike that former president Rafael Correa called an attempted coup. Baca headed an investigation of the strike that supported Correa’s contention although more recent information question the claim.

5 thoughts on “In a stormy session, Ecuador’s National Assembly ousts its president, begins impeachment against Attorney General

  1. “The intent of Baca’s removal, according to comments in the tape, is to clear the way for presidential run by Serrano. In the comments, Serrano says that Baca also has presidential ambitions.”

    While one may infer that reason from the audio, to suggest that is the reason in absolute terms is a disservice to CHL readers; this article is not an editorial. In the audio, Serrano refered to an agreement that Baca was not complying with. I can speculate all day about what that agreement might have been.

    1. I would appreciate an in-depth report of the happenings, not just a glossing over of a few events. Report or get out of the game and let someone else do the job. So far we know nearly nothing except that the government is corrupt beyond belief. Case in point, what happened to all of the reports of theft, embezzlement, and conspiracy by the Al-Hurrays. (sp)?

      1. While I don’t expect much reporting, I do expect an accurate translation and summary of someone else’s reporting. I will run naked in Parque Calderon if that quote I cited can be sourced to an Ecuadorian newspaper.

      2. You wanted to know what happened to that case involving what’s his name…..


  2. Rafael Correa isn’t calling what happened in 2010 a coup, anyone with any intellectual honesty is. When the plotters take over television stations and force their way on the air to deliver a message demanding the president step down, then hold the president hostage in a hospital for hours with snipers on the surrounding roofs, then are recorded on the radio ordering police to make sure he “doesn’t leave alive”, ultimately showing the presidential motorcade with a hail of bullets as he escapes, killing one soldier in the process, it’s an attempted coup. In fact, the only people who still try to claim it wasn’t are the same ones who also claim the whole thing was staged by Correa to improve his approval ratings. Come on, CHL. Everything isn’t open to interpretation. There is a such thing as objective reality in this world.

    As for Thania Moreno, she’s as implicated in this case as anyone else. It’s pretty clear she’s “la amiguita” referred to on the tape. The embezzlement case will never happen because the whole thing was made up by Fernando Villaviencio and the only evidence was forged documents he presented. Serrano and Villavicencio repeatedly claimed that they had the original documents, but on both occasions when they supposedly presented them, the documents were in fact photocopies and there is zero evidence that the originals ever existed. It was Thania Moreno’s office that supposedly produced the “reports”, but she hasn’t been able to present the originals either.

    Incidentally, in the middle of all this scandal, Thania Moreno inexplicably stopped litigating against Villavicencio’s appeal for his previous conviction for defamation (along with Clever Jimenez). He lost that case in court when it was revealed that it was also based entirely on documents he had forged, but the state (under the direction of Thania Moreno’s office) simply refused to fight their appeal so they are now exonerated. It’s pretty clear that was in exchange for his attack on Baca. She also dropped all the investigations against Andres Paez, again with no explanation and dropped the investigation of Quito mayor Mauricio Rodas in the Odebrecht case despite the fact that the same Odebrecht officials whose testimony was the only evidence presented against Glas also stated they made payments to Rodas. She’ll be the next domino to fall. I give it until the end of next week. She’s running out of explanations for her actions faster than Serrano did.

    Baca will go down, not because of the latest fabricated fantasy from Fernando Villavicencio, but because he refused to prosecute anyone from Odebrecht, even the ones who admitted guilt while he had the vice-president removed from office and imprisoned on zero evidence. In the end, the entire cabal of traitors who conspired to remove the vice-president and ensure Correa can never run again are all implicating each other in one scandal after another, all backed by text messages, audio tapes and pretty soon a money trail. The rats are literally eating each other in vain attempts to save themselves. This is the “return to democracy” they were promising just a couple months ago. Now we see their true colors. Does anyone see what’s happening yet?

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