Ecuador’s National Assembly in Quito turned into a shouting match Wednesday morning when Jorge Glas appeared to discuss the Odebrecht scandal. The Assembly was meeting in special session as the Supervisory Commission as part of its investigation of the growing bribery probe.
The trouble started when María José Carrión, head of the Supervisory Commission, announced that no questions would be allowed during Glas’ presentation. Several assembly members from the opposition Creo party shouted their objection, insisting on the right to question the vice president and some held up protest signs. Before Glas began to speak, six Creo legislators left the assembly in protest.
“We were told that this was an open session where we would be able to ask the vice president about his personal meetings with Odebrecht and his relationship with those arrested,” said Gabriela Larreátegui (Creo), one of the lawmakers who left the assembly hall. “The ruling party is stopping the debate.” The Alianza País party, of which Carrión and Glas are members, holds a slim majority in the assembly.
After order was restored, Glas repeated previous claims of his innocence and said nothing illicit happened in his meetings with a member of the Odebrecht family. He also asked that the bribery scandal be extended back 40 years, when Odebrecht first began doing business in Ecuador. “Let all the guilty pay for their crimes,” Glas said. “Odebrecht is a mafia and all of their dealings should be investigated.”
Outside the assembly hall, assemblyman Fernando Callejas called Glas’s visit a “circus” and said it represented the politics of former president Rafael Correa, not current present Lenin Moreno.
“Glas is the master of deflection,” said Callejas. “He is up to his ears in the filth and is now asking us to begin the investigation 40 years ago. I have no problem looking for corruption in the day of our parents but first we should deal with the corruption in front of us and the place to start is with the vice president himself.”
He added: “President Moreno says we should open up this investigation and protect no one and I agree.”