Mexico suspends diplomatic relations with Ecuador after ‘barbaric’ arrest of ex-vice president

Mexico suspends diplomatic relations with Ecuador after ‘barbaric’ arrest of ex-vice president

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Alberto Suarez/AFP/Getty Images

Ecuadorian police special forces attempt to enter the Mexican embassy in Quito on April 5, 2024.



CNN
 — 

Ecuadorian police stormed the Mexican embassy in Quito on Friday night to arrest a former vice president seeking asylum there, in an escalation of tensions that Mexico decried as “an outrage against international law.”

Mexico’s foreign minister said the country would break off diplomatic relations with Ecuador after the arrest of former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas.

The rift between the two Latin American countries had been growing since Mexico’s decision to grant political asylum to Glas, Ecuador’s former vice president under leftist ex-President Rafael Correa between 2013 and 2017. Convicted twice on corruption charges, Glas says he is the subject of political persecution and had been sheltering inside the embassy.

But 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 CNN en Español, 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.”

Dolores Ochoa/AP

Former Ecuador Vice President Jorge Glas speaks during an interview at his office in Quito on September 12, 2017.

A spokesperson for Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Bárcena told CNNE that the country is “breaking” diplomatic relations with Ecuador and immediately removing all diplomatic personnel from the country.

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

Bárcena said there had been no prior contact with Ecuador’s foreign ministry about the arrest and that Canseco was physically attacked during the arrest.

Adding to current tensions was Lopez Obrador’s apparent criticism of Ecuador’s recent elections, saying the 2023 run-off vote took place in a “very strange” manner and suggesting that presidential candidates had used the media, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio’s assassination and overall violence in their favor while campaigning.

The rift resulted in a series of diplomatic provocations this week, that also included Ecuador rejecting Mexico’s ambassador to the country, who was declared “persona non grata.”

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