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6 Apr, 2024 05:21

Mexico suspends diplomatic relations with Ecuador (VIDEOS)

Former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas was arrested after police forcefully entered the Mexican Embassy in Quito
Mexico suspends diplomatic relations with Ecuador (VIDEOS)

Mexico has suspended diplomatic relations with Ecuador with immediate effect, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said. The decision comes in response to the arrest of Ecuador’s former vice president in the country’s Mexican Embassy by Quito police, after they stormed the diplomatic compound, following a months-long standoff.

Mexico had granted political asylum on Friday to former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge David Glas Espinel, who had been convicted twice on corruption charges and has been staying in the embassy since late last year. Ecuador had asked Mexico’s permission to arrest the politician, but to no avail. Glas insists that he has been subjected to political persecution.

While offering refuge to the former vice president, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry urged Quito to grant safe passage to Glas so he could leave the country. Ecuador, however, ruled out the possibility, saying “it is not legal to grant asylum to people convicted or prosecuted for common crimes.”

On Friday evening, Ecuadorian police stormed the embassy, with videos from the scene showing a heavy law enforcement presence in the area. The government of Ecuador claimed that the raid was conducted to defend its national sovereignty.

“Every embassy has a single purpose: to serve as a diplomatic space with the objective of strengthening relations between countries,” it said, accusing Mexico of “abusing the immunities and privileges granted to its diplomatic mission.”

In a statement on Saturday, Lopez Obrador said Glas is “a refugee” who is facing “persecution and harassment.” He denounced the raid as “a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico.”

“I have instructed our chancellor to issue a statement regarding this authoritarian act, proceed legally and immediately declare the suspension of diplomatic relations with the government of… Ecuador,” he added.

Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said the country’s diplomatic personnel would leave Ecuador immediately. She added that Mexico would appeal to the International Court of Justice to denounce Ecuador’s actions. The ministry also said that several Mexican diplomats were injured during the operation.

Even before the embassy raid, relations between Mexico and Ecuador were marred by a series of controversies. Lopez Obrador called the South American country’s presidential election “very strange,” noting that the outcome was heavily influenced by violence, including the assassination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

In response, Ecuador declared Mexican Ambassador Raquel Serur Smeke persona non grata, demanding respect for its sovereignty and noting that the country was still mourning Villavicencio’s death.