The Council of Citizen Participation (CPCCS) has named Diana Salazar Ecuador’s new Attorney General. Her appointment faced stiff opposition from supporters of former president Rafael Correa, who challenged her credentials in a social media campaign. Her supporters claim she was the subject of a “smear” campaign.
Salazar gained public attention in 2017 and 2018, successfully prosecuting cases against former vice president Jorge Glas, government officials accused of accepting bribes in the Odebrecht scandal and Luis Chiriboga, one-time head of the Ecuador football federation.
During confirmation hearings Salazar survived two challenges to her nomination but won the position unanimously based on scoring highest on a competency test administered by an independent citizen council. “She was the best prepared of the 17 candidates for the position and she is also the smartest,” said CPCCS president Julio César Trujillo.
Salazar, a 38-year-old lawyer from Ibarra, replaces Ruth Palacios who held the attorney general position on an interim basis. Until her appointment, Salazar headed the financial crimes unit at the federal prosecutor’s office.
Among the social media attacks on Salazar during confirmation hearings were several suggesting that a black woman should never be allowed to serve in a government office. President Lenin Moreno’s communication secretary has requested an investigation to determine the source of the comments.
During her prosecution of Glas and Odebrecht bribery defendants, Salazar received death threats and was dubbed the “Iron Woman” by Moreno.