Journalist says corruption cases could ‘rearrange’ political landscape; Indigenous group warns Canadian miners; Salazar impeachment is a ‘no go’

Mar 6, 2024 | 0 comments

Martín Pallares, former editor of the 4 Pelagatos investigative news site, says arrests in the Guayas Provincial Court case and other corruption cases could have far reaching effects on Ecuador’s political landscape. “The involvement of key political figures with organized crime has been an open secret for the past three or four years,” he says. “It is just now coming into full public view.”

As more arrests are made and more criminal activity is revealed, Pallares predicts a “rearrangement” of Ecuador’s political landscape. “Today, the Social Christians and Citizens Revolution appear to be the most connected with organized crime but other movements could be hurt as investigations progress,” he says, adding that he expects additional arrests of judges and National Assembly members.

Ecuador Attorney General Diana Salazar

Pallares says information provided by assassinated presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio has provided “key leads” in the Attorney General’s investigations in the Purge and Metastasis cases.

“Fernado was a master researcher, and the result of his work is now — even from the grave — bearing fruit,” Pallares says.

Villavicencio was a contributor to 4 Pelagatos, which ended operations in 2023.

Indigenous group warns Canadian mining companies to stay out of Ecuador
Ecuador’s indigenous Shuar community is warning Canadian mining companies to stay away from Ecuador. In an open letter to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), Shuar leaders warn that mining interests are not welcome in Ecuador and will lose money if they invest in projects in the country.

The warning follows President Daniel Noboa’s attendance at a PDAC conference in Toronto on Monday in which he encouraged investment in Ecuador mining projects. In a short address to the group, Noboa reassured investors that his government is restoring order in the country and that Ecuador should be considered a “major mining destination.”

According to the Shuars, mining is being rejected not just by indigenous groups but by Ecuadorians in general. “Whenever the people have the opportunity to vote on mining projects, they are rejected overwhelmingly,” the Shuar letter said. “Eighty indigenous and environmental groups are represented by our campaign to end all extractive activities in the country.”

The letter cited referendums in Quito, Cuenca and Giron in which mining was banned or restricted. “If you invest in mining in Ecuador, you will lose your investment,” the letter said.

Salazar impeachment is a ‘no go’
National Assembly President Henry Kronfle said Tuesday any attempt to impeach Attorney General Diana Salazar will fail. “There are simply not the votes for this effort to go forward,” he said.

The impeachment of Salazar has been a goal of the Assembly’s Citizen Revolution party since she successfully prosecuted former president Rafael Correa on corruption charges in 2020. The Assembly was scheduled to take up Salazar’s impeachment in 2023 but the cross death declaration by President Guillermo Lasso ended the attempt.

“The only bloc pursuing impeachment is Citizens Revolution, with 51 votes,” Kronfle said. “It is opposed by the Social Christians, ADN, Construye and the independents, so it is a no go at this point.” An impeachment trial would require 70 Assembly votes.

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