Latin American governments rally around Mexico after embassy raid in Ecuador

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Latin American governments rally around Mexico after embassy raid in Ecuador

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Police officers stand guard as Ecuador’s former Vice President Jorge Glas is expected to arrive at the La Roca Prison, after Ecuadorean forces raided Mexico’s embassy to arrest Glas who had been convicted twice of corruption and who had been granted asylum by Mexican authorities, in Guayaquil, Ecuador April 7, 2024. — Reuters pic

QUITO, Ecuador, April 7 — Latin American governments, including regional heavyweight Brazil, rallied around Mexico today after its embassy in Ecuador was raided to arrest a controversial politician who had been granted asylum by Mexican authorities.


The late Saturday night seizure of Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s former vice president who had been convicted twice on graft charges, caused outrage in Mexico City, which suspended relations with Quito.

Glas, 54, who had a preventive arrest warrant out on another corruption case, had been holed up in the embassy in Quito since seeking political asylum in December, a request Mexico had granted earlier yesterday.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blasted the unusual diplomatic incursion and arrest as an “authoritarian” act as well as a breach of international law and Mexico’s sovereignty.


Under international law, embassies are considered the sovereign territory of the country they represent.

The government of Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa argued that Mexico’s asylum protections were illegal because of Glas’ corruption charges.

Sonia Vera, the international lawyer for Glas, said by telephone today that his team was requesting help on an inter-American level with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as well as with the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly.


Glas, who was vice president under the leftist government of Rafael Correa between 2013 and 2017, has complained that he is being persecuted for his political affiliation, which Ecuador’s government denies.

Video circulating on social media showed him being taken by police convoy to the airport in Quito, flanked by heavily armed soldiers. He then boarded a plane en route to a jail in Guayaquil, the Andean nation’s largest city.

Today, governments across the political spectrum in Latin America — including Brazil and Colombia on the left, and Argentina and Uruguay on the right — sharply criticised the storming of the embassy to arrest Glas.

Photos on social media, including one posted by Cuba’s foreign minister, showed what appeared to be the embassy’s wall being scaled by armed police or soldiers. Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the photos.

Brazil’s government condemned Ecuador’s move as a “clear violation” of international norms prohibiting such a raid on a foreign embassy.

Ecuador’s move against the embassy “must be subject to strong repudiation, whatever the justification for its implementation,” according to a statement from Brazil’s foreign ministry, which stressed Brasilia’s solidarity with Mexico.

Military vehicle arrives at the Flagrancy Unit, where former Ecuador Vice President Jorge Glas is believed to be detained, in Quito, Ecuador April 7, 2024. — Reuters pic

Military vehicle arrives at the Flagrancy Unit, where former Ecuador Vice President Jorge Glas is believed to be detained, in Quito, Ecuador April 7, 2024. — Reuters pic

‘Grave violations’

In an interview with local broadcaster Milenio this morning, Mexico’s top diplomat, Alicia Barcena, expressed shock at Ecuador’s incursion into the country’s embassy, located in Quito’s financial district, adding that some embassy personnel had been injured in the raid.

She added that Glas had been granted asylum after an exhaustive analysis of the circumstances surrounding the accusations he faces.

The Mexican foreign ministry has announced it will file a complaint with the United Nation’s International Court of Justice for “grave violations of international law.”

The Washington-based Organization of American States today issued a call for dialogue to resolve the escalating dispute between the two countries, adding in a statement that a session of the body’s permanent council would be convened to discuss the need for “strict compliance with international treaties, including those that guarantee the right to asylum.”

Colombian President Gustavo Petro argued in a post on X that Latin America “must keep alive the precepts of international law in the midst of the barbarism that is advancing in the world.”

Petro’s government noted it will seek human rights legal protections for the now-detained Glas, according to a separate statement.

Ecuadorean authorities had unsuccessfully sought permission from Mexico to enter the embassy and arrest Glas.

In 2017, Glas, was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of taking bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht in exchange for awarding it government contracts.

He was convicted again in 2020 of using money from contractors to fund campaigns for Correa’s political movement and given an eight-year sentence. — Reuters

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