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Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Relations with Ecuador after Its Quito Embassy Assaulted

April 6, 2024 (EIRNS)—In a statement read today on X, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Alicia Barcena announced that, on orders from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the Mexican government was breaking diplomatic relations with the Republic of Ecuador. This followed last night’s invasion of the Mexican embassy in Quito by a group of elite Ecuadorian police, backed by the military, to detain Jorge Glas, who had served as Vice President to former President Rafael Correa and had just been granted asylum on April 5 by the Mexican government.

This unprecedented event has unleashed multiple statements of condemnation from around Ibero-America and internationally. (See separate report.) Barcena announced that Mexico will file a complaint at the International Court of Justice to denounce Ecuador for violating international law. Several experts consulted said an event of this type has almost no precedent in Latin American history.

The action by the Ecuadorian police and military was a “flagrant violation of international law and of Mexican sovereignty,” President López Obrador said in his own remarks on X. Ecuadorian police scaled the embassy’s walls, assaulted security guards as well as embassy personnel and dragged Glas out of the embassy and into a waiting armored car. He was subsequently flown to a maximum-security prison in Guayaquil. As Minister Barcena elaborated, Ecuador has engaged in a “flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention (1962) on Diplomatic Relations, particularly the principle of the inviolability of locales and Mexican diplomatic personnel and the basic norms of diplomatic coexistence.” Every embassy is considered the sovereign territory of the nation it represents and Ecuador trampled on that principle.

Bilateral relations between Ecuador and Mexico have been tense during the recent period. A staunch ally of the U.S. and Israel, Ecuador President Daniel Noboa had recently expelled the Mexican ambassador due to statements made by AMLO about Noboa’s election which he considered provocative. In February, he had asked the ambassador to hand over Glas, for whom an arrest warrant exists, but the ambassador refused. Glas had already served a five-year jail sentence from 2017-22 for “corruption,” but still faced additional charges, for which an arrest warrant was issued, which he refutes, arguing he is a victim of political persecution—as is former President Correa and many members of his government.

In a defensive communiqué issued today, entitled “Let’s Defend National Sovereignty—Zero Impunity,” the Ecuadorian Presidency declared that each embassy has only one purpose, “to serve as a diplomatic space with the goal of strengthening relations between countries.” It justified the invasion of the Mexican embassy and arrest of Glas, charging that the “diplomatic mission that protected Glas” had “abused the privileges and immunity granted it” by giving “diplomatic asylum contrary to the conventional judicial framework.” Hence, authorities were justified in taking action to arrest Glas. “No criminal can be considered [a victim of] political persecution,” it said.