Diplomacy Ends When Ecuador Storms Embassy

Police arrest former vice president who sought asylum in Mexican Embassy in Quito
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 6, 2024 4:45 PM CDT
Diplomacy Ends When Ecuador Storms Embassy
A supporter of former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas protests as a military vehicle transports him from the detention center where he was held following his arrest at the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Mexico's government ended diplomatic ties with Ecuador after police broke into the Mexican Embassy to arrest a former Ecuadorian vice president, an extraordinary use of force that shocked and mystified regional leaders and diplomats. Ecuadorian police late Friday broke through the external doors of the embassy in the capital, Quito, to arrest Jorge Glas, who had been residing there since December. Glas sought political asylum at the embassy after being indicted on corruption charges, the AP reports. The raid prompted Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to announce the breaking of diplomatic relations with Ecuador, and his government said the move will be challenged at the World Court in The Hague.

"This is crazy," Roberto Canseco, head of the Mexican consular section in Quito, told local press outside the embassy right after the raid. "I am very worried because they could kill him." On Saturday, Glas was taken from the attorney general's office in Quito to the port city of Guayaquil, where he will remain in custody at a maximum-security prison. People who had gathered outside the prosecutor's office yelled "strength" as he left with a convoy of police and military vehicles. Authorities are investigating Glas over alleged irregularities during his management of reconstruction efforts following an earthquake in 2016 that killed hundreds of people. He was convicted on bribery and corruption charges in other cases.

The office of Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa defended the raid in a statement, saying "Ecuador is a sovereign nation" that will not "allow any criminal to stay free." López Obrador fired back, per the AP, calling Glas' detention "a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico." Alicia Bárcena, Mexico's secretary of foreign relations, posted on X that a number of diplomats suffered injuries during the break-in, which she said 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. The action by Ecuadorian authorities was condemned by presidents, diplomats, and the Organization of American States.

(More Ecuador stories.)

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