A frail Gabriel Olondriz—who looks to be on the brink of death—greets Olivia, happy for the company. Olivia is confused that he doesn’t greet Gardo, who freezes and goes quiet. Gabriel Olondriz and Gardo talk softly in “their own language” before Gabriel Olondriz tells Olivia that she’s been had—Olondriz doesn’t know the boy, nor does he have a house, and Olivia paid way over the going bribe of 1,500 pesos to get to Olondriz. Despite Gardo’s imploring, Olondriz refuses to talk to Gardo privately. Olondriz is shocked that Olivia has no idea who she’s visiting. He explains that he brought corruption charges against a very powerful Senator Zapanta when $30,000,000 of aid money, intended for schools and hospitals, disappeared 35 years ago. None of these institutions were built, and Olondriz has been rotting in prison ever since.
Gabriel Olondriz makes clear the deplorable magnitude of Senator Zapanta’s corruption. He implies that although prison guards regularly demand bribes, the biggest theft in this society is Senator Zapanta’s, since millions of dollars intended for the poor mysteriously disappeared under his watch. Olondriz thus shows that Senator Zapanta is directly responsible for the city’s extreme poverty, and that Senator Zapanta’s corruption extends even further. He clearly controls the police and courts of law as well, given Olondriz’s plight as a political prisoner.