Mexico breaks diplomatic ties with Ecuador after embassy raid

Legal Events

The Mexican president has quickly moved to break off diplomatic ties with Ecuador after police broke into the Mexican Embassy to arrest a former vice president who had sought political asylum there after being indicted on corruption charges.

In an extraordinarily unusual move, Ecuadorian police forced their way into the embassy in the capital, Quito, to arrest Jorge Glas, who had been residing there since December. Police broke through the external doors of the Mexican diplomatic headquarters in the Ecuadorian capital and entered the main patio to get Glas.

On Saturday, he was taken from the attorney general’s office to a detention facility in an armored vehicle followed by a convoy of military and police vehicles. People who had gathered outside the prosecutor’s office yelled “strength” as the vehicles began to move.

The raid prompted Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to announce the break of diplomatic relations with Ecuador Friday evening.

Glas has been convicted on bribery and corruption charges. Ecuadorian authorities are still investigating more allegations against him. “This is not possible. It cannot be. This is crazy,” Roberto Canseco, head of the Mexican consular section in Quito, told local press while standing outside the embassy. “I am very worried because they could kill him. There is no basis to do this. This is totally outside the norm.”

Defending its decision, Ecuador’s presidency said in a statement: “Ecuador is a sovereign nation and we are not going to allow any criminal to stay free.”

López Obrador fired back, calling Glas’ detention an “authoritarian act” and “a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico.”

Alicia Bárcena, Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations, posted on the social platform X that a number of diplomats suffered injuries during the break-in, adding that it violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Diplomatic premises are considered “inviolable” under the Vienna treaties and local law enforcement agencies are not allowed to enter without the permission of the ambassador. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lived inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years because British police could not enter to arrest him.

Bárcena said that Mexico would take the case to the International Court of Justice “to denounce Ecuador’s responsibility for violations of international law.” She also said Mexican diplomats were only waiting for the Ecuadorian government to offer the necessary guarantees for their return home.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and Ecuador’s Ministry of the Interior did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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