Noboa and Salazar receive daily death threats after failed ‘coup d’etat’; National Assembly coalition faces collapse; Guayas Province court chief resigns

Mar 11, 2024 | 0 comments

President Daniel Noboa said he and Attorney General Diana Salazar receive death threats almost daily. “She and I talk about this and compare the messages we get,” the president said Friday at a prison safety conference.

“The messages we receive are an indication that we are doing our job by attacking the criminal organizations that want to terrorize the country,” he said. “We are arresting their leaders and co-conspirators and damaging their operations. They can expect our efforts to continue.”

Social Christian party boss Jaime Nebot

In his comments, Noboa also labeled the violent events of early January as an “attempted coup d’etat” and forced his decision to declare a national emergency of internal armed conflict. “I could have followed the path of previous emergency declarations that lacked adequate force but I decided the circumstances required a firm hand. I stand by the decision as well as the decision to extend the emergency period.”

In the first week of January, riots broke out at seven national prisons and members of the Los Lobos narco gang attempted to take over a Guayaquil television station.

National Assembly coalition may collapse
The National Assembly coalition between the Correista Citizens Revolution, Social Christians (PSC) and Democratic Action (ADN) appears to be falling apart. The pact was tested three weeks ago when the PSC and ADN blocs refused to support a Citizens Revolution proposal to insert a review process in criminal investigations and convictions and sustained further damage last week from an angry exchange between Rafael Correa and PSC boss Jaime Nebot.

“The agreement of the blocs appears to be on its last legs and a divorce may be in the best interest of all parties,” says ADN advisor Paul Ortiz. “They came together after the COIP [crime code] fight but the exchange between Nebot and Correa could be the coup de gras.”

Following the arrests last Monday of judges and PSC Assemblyman Pablo Muentes in a Guayas Province court corruption case, Nebot defended the PSC and claimed corruption by Muentes, if proven, represents an “outlier” of the party’s values.

Correa responded on social media, suggesting that Nebot represents a network of corrupt interests in Guayaquil and funnels illicit money to foreign bank accounts.

In response, Nebot challenged Correa to prove his claims and said that he was considering the source. “Here is a convicted felon and fugitive from justice claiming I am a lawbreaker,” Nebot said. “It is enough to make you laugh.”

For the Democratic Action party, Ortiz says a break with Citizens Revolution and PSC would be healthy. “Why would Daniel Noboa’s party [ADN] want to be associated with the Correistas and PSC now that they are implicated in corruption and have connections with the narcos? The next election campaign has already started and ADN should position itself as the party that opposes the drug cartels and criminality, not one in a coalition with it.”

Guayas court chief resigns
President of the Guayas Court of Justice Hugo González has resigned following comments from Attorney General Diana Salazar that he may soon be arrested for corruption. “I cannot exercise this office under the cloud of doubt created by recent suggestions and must prepare to defend myself against unfair charges,” he said.

González, who replaced Fabiola Gallardo in January, is the third Guayas court president in less than a year. Gallardo was arrested last Monday and charged with conspiring with National Assemblyman Pablo Muentes and six judges to grant favorable rulings to drug gang members.

In her reference to González, Salazar did not back up her suspicions of González, saying only that corruption in the court has continued following Gallardo’s resignation and arrest.

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