4 Facts Foreign Media Have Not Said about Jorge Glas

Mexican Embassy Granted Former Vice President Asylum Despite Prison Order

For now, Glas is serving a sentence in the high-security prison La Roca and awaiting trial on further charges. (Andrés Sebastián Díaz)

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Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa made headlines worldwide on Friday night after police broke into the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest former Vice President Jorge Glas. He was seeking asylum, and media outlets have echoed statements from the international community condemning Ecuador’s action. It contravened the Vienna Convention for Diplomatic Relations and the 1952 Convention for Political Asylum.

However, Glas’s biography is crucial to an understanding of this story. Amid Ecuador’s security crisis, the Noboa administration has prioritized voter wishes, especially law enforcement. 

  1. He was Rafael Correa’s right-hand man.

Glas started working in the cabinet of former President Rafael Correa (2007–2017) from the beginning of his administration. First, Correa asked Glas to manage the Solidarity Fund—a publicly managed foundation with revenues from energy and telecommunications companies. 

In 2009, Correa appointed him telecommunications minister, and in 2010 Glas became the coordinating minister for strategic sectors. From this umbrella position, he oversaw the ministers of energy, nonrenewable resources, and telecommunications. 

When Correa was reelected in 2013, Glas became the vice president. In 2016, when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Ecuadorian coast, Glas led the committee that collected more than $1.6 billion from temporary taxes to aid recovery in the affected zones.

When Correista candidate Lenin Moreno took office in May 2017, Glas stayed as vice president. However, a couple of months later, Moreno fired him due to his ties with Odebrecht. 

  1. He was convicted in two corruption cases. 

In December 2017, Glas was sentenced to six years in jail for unlawful association and bribery in the Odebrecht case. The Prosecutor General’s Office found that he had received around $13.5 million in bribes from the Brazilian company Odebrecht from 2010 to 2012. 

One of the projects in this corruption scheme was the Pacific Refinery, developed by state-owned oil company Petroecuador and Venezuela’s PDVSA. After spending over $1.5 billion, the refinery remains incomplete and dormant.

Odebrecht was not the sole enterprise bribing officials to win procurement bids. In 2020, the Prosecutor General’s Office revealed Correa and Glas led a bribery scheme from 2012 to 2016 and sentenced them both to eight years in prison. Despite overwhelming evidence against the pair, Correa argued the conviction was judicial lawfare.

Later, a judge accepted Glas’s petition to unify his sentences. He then had to serve eight years rather than 14. 

  1. He was released by a judge now convicted of corruption. 

In November 2022, Judge Emerson Curipallo ordered Glas’s conditional release. Curipallo is now in prison. He was found guilty of illegally releasing around 60 people involved in corruption and organized crime.

According to the investigation by the Prosecutor General’s Office, drug-trafficking ringleader Leandro Norero paid Curipallo a $250,000 bribe to release Glas. The goal was to support Glas to run for president in the anticipated 2023 election, but they were unable to remove his prohibition from participating in elections. 

  1. He was recently implicated in an embezzlement case.

The conditional release resolution required Glas to attend a weekly judicial examination, and he complied until December 2023, when he began living in the Mexican embassy. Days later, a judge issued an arrest warrant on Glas for embezzlement when he led the reconstruction committee after the earthquake in the province of Manabí. 

Glas is also under investigation in other cases, including Singue and Metástasis. Singue refers to irregularities during the procurement bid for oil extraction in the “Singue” zone. Metástasis refers to organized crime infiltrating the state.

For now, Glas is serving a sentence in the high-security prison La Roca and awaiting trial on further charges. Meanwhile, Mexico has ended diplomatic relations with Ecuador.

Paz Gómez

Paz Gómez is an Econ Americas analyst and a widely published economic commentator. Based in Quito, she leads the firm’s office in Ecuador. She holds an MS in digital currency and blockchain from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, and a BA in international relations and political science from San Francisco University of Quito. She is a cofounder and the academic coordinator of Libre Razón, a classical-liberal think tank in Quito, Ecuador. Follow @mpazgomezm.

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