‘Outrage against international law’- Mexico breaks diplomatic ties with Ecuador after police raid embassy to arrest former Vice President

Sunday, April 7, 2024
 – Mexico has announced it will be breaking diplomatic ties with Ecuador after police raided the Mexican embassy in Quito, Ecuador to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas, who had been seeking asylum there.

Mexico decried the raid as “an outrage against international law.”

Confirming the move in a statement to CNN, a foreign ministry spokesperson said all Mexican diplomatic staff would leave Ecuador immediately.

Video from the scene showed armed police officers entering the embassy, a shocking move as Embassies are generally considered protected spaces under diplomatic laws.

Glas was then transferred to a maximum-security prison in Guayaquil known as La Roca, the national prisons agency SNAI announced Saturday, April 6.

A rift between Ecuador and Mexico, two Latin American countries, had been growing for several days, resulting in Mexico’s decision to grant political asylum to Glas, who served as vice president under leftist ex-President Rafael Correa between 2013 and 2017.

Convicted twice on corruption charges, Glas claims to be under political persecution and had been sheltering inside the embassy.

He has been accused by Ecuadorian authorities of embezzling government funds meant to help rebuild the country after a devastating 2016 earthquake.

On Friday, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on his official X account, said he had been informed that “police from Ecuador forcibly entered” the Mexican embassy and took Glas – who “was a refugee and processing asylum because of the persecution and harassment he faces.”

A statement released by Ecuador’s government on X also confirmed the arrest.

Glas was “sentenced to imprisonment by the Ecuadorian justice system,” the statement from Ecuador’s government read, and was “arrested tonight and placed under the orders of the competent authorities.”

He had been granted diplomatic asylum “contrary to the conventional legal framework,” the government said.

“What you have just seen is an outrage against international law and the inviolability of the Mexican embassy in Ecuador,” Roberto Canseco, head of chancellery and policy affairs of the Mexican embassy, told a reporter from CNNE, calling Glas’s arrest “totally unacceptable.”

“It is barbarism,” Canseco added. “It is impossible for them to violate the diplomatic premises as they have done.”

At a news conference Saturday, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld said the decision to raid the Mexican embassy to arrest Glas was made “in the face of a real risk of imminent escape.”

Sommerfeld also accused Mexico of violating the principle of non-intervention by letting Glas stay in the embassy and evade an order to appear before authorities in a corruption probe.

“The Mexican embassy, by receiving Mr. Glas Espinel, contributed to the failure to comply with the obligation to appear weekly before the judicial authority, thus affecting the democratic institutions of Ecuador, clearly contravening the fundamental principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states,” she said.

Sommerfeld dismissed Mexico’s claim that Glas was being politically prosecuted, saying, “For Ecuador, no criminal can be considered a politically persecuted person when he has been convicted with an enforceable sentence and with an arrest warrant issued by the judicial authorities.”

Mexico plans to lodge a complaint with the International Court of Justice to denounce the Ecuadorian police’s actions, the spokesperson for Mexico’s foreign secretary added.

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