The attorneys, investigators and police officers who have worked with Diana Salazar over the years describe her as dedicated heart-and-soul to the pursuit of justice.
A federal prosecutor, Salazar ignited a political firestorm Monday when she announced that Vice President Jorge Glas should stand trial on 10 counts of corruption for his dealings with the Brazilian construction company Oderbrecht. The case is now in the hands of the National Assembly which, under constitutional rule, must vote to allow the case to go to court.
Glas, who has been at odds with President Lenin Moreno, has steadfastly claimed innocence in the face the of mounting evidence against him. Some political observers had predicted that Glas would never be charged, however, based on the political influence of Ecuador’s dominant Alianza País political party.
“Diana is fearless when it comes to going after those she believes are corrupt, she doesn’t care who they are or how important they are,” says Juan Ramos, who has known her since the early days of her legal career. “As an investigator and an attorney, she is very thorough and very dedicated to achieving justice. She is one very tough lady.”
For the last year, Salazar has been working on cases involving the Odebrecht and Petroecuador bribery scandals for the Transparency and Anti-Corruption Unit in the attorney general’s office. Her work has resulted in the arrest and conviction of former energy minister Carlos Pareja and the arrest of Ricardo Rivera, Glas’ uncle, among others. According to colleagues in her office, she is working on several more cases likely to result in high-profile arrests.
“One thing that you notice is that no one questions Diana’s integrity,” says Ramos. “The Glas situation is extremely political but no one is saying that the quality of her investigation is a problem. This is why there is so much concern among the supporters of the vice president.”
Salazar, a 36-year-old native of Ibarra, gained national recognition in 2015 when she brought money laundering charges against then-president of the Ecuadorian Football Federation, Luis Chiriboga, and his associate Vinicio Luna. Both were convicted and are now serving prison sentences.
According to Salazar, the public has the right to know that government officials are obeying the law. “If people begin to believe that those in public trust are stealing and cheating, then the very structure of the government comes into question,” she says. “My job is very simple: to make sure officials are doing their jobs honestly and working for the benefit of the public.”
To learn more about Salazar and her career, click here.