President Guillermo Lasso continues to insist he made no agreement with former president Rafael Correa or his followers to release Jorge Glas prison. Glas served as vice president during the Correa administration.
“There does not exist and there has never existed an agreement to allow Glas out of prison,” Lasso said. “There have been no conversations with political parties or personalities about it. This is purely a rumor with no truth behind it.”
Glas was granted a habeas corpus release by a provincial judge April 9 based on testimonies by private doctors who claimed the former vice president was in declining health. At the hearing, government representatives, including those from the prison administration, did not object to the judge’s order.
Glas was sentenced to six years in prison 2017 for bribery and “illicit association” for his part in the international scandal involving the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, which was the contractor for more than a dozen major infrastructure projects in Ecuador. According to records, the former vice president collected eight million dollars in illegal commissions on the contracts.
Several political analysts and former government officials say that Lasso and leaders of the Correista movement reached an agreement three weeks ago that included Glas’ release. They contend the appointment of Francisco Jiménez as Government Minister was also part of the deal. Jiménez served in the Correa government and proposed, before Lasso took office, the formation of a “truth commission” that could allow Correa to return to Ecuador.
“It may not have been a deal put in writing or even discussed verbally,” says former Juan Parra, a one-time advisor to Correa. “These things are often done by subtle methods and signals. Bringing Jiménez into the government was almost certainly a signal.”
In a Sunday interview, Lasso said he objects “strongly” to Glas’ release and says the government will appeal the judge’s decision.