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“Serious violations of international law”

There is a huge diplomatic outcry after the police stormed the Mexican embassy in Quito. Mexico has broken off relations with Ecuador – and wants to file a lawsuit with the UN International Court of Justice.

Brazil, Argentina and other Latin American countries have sharply criticized the government in Quito after the police stormed the Mexican embassy. Ecuador's actions were a clear violation of international norms, said the Brazilian Foreign Ministry. The left-wing governments in Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela as well as the right-wing governments in Argentina and Uruguay made similar statements. Nicaragua formally broke off all diplomatic relations with Ecuador, calling it a “flagrant violation of international law.” Mexico had previously suspended its diplomatic relations with Ecuador.

The background is the arrest of the former vice president of Ecuador, Jorge Glas, late on Friday evening in the Mexican embassy in Ecuador's capital Quito. Ecuador had previously asked Mexico for permission to enter the building. After this was refused, police officers forced their way into the representation and took away glass. However, under international law, embassies are considered the sovereign territory of the country they represent.

Mexico wants to file a lawsuit

Mexico's Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said some embassy staff were also injured in the raid. Mexico will file a complaint with the United Nations International Court of Justice for “serious violations of international law.”

Glas was once deputy to Rafael Correa, the left-leaning former president of Ecuador. In Ecuador, Glas has been convicted twice for corruption. Among other things, he was sentenced to six years in prison in 2017 on charges of accepting bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in return for awarding government contracts. Glas had been holed up in the Mexican embassy in Quito since December and applied for political asylum.

Mexico agreed to this on Friday. After a new arrest warrant for other bribery allegations, Glas recently said that he was the victim of political persecution. Ecuador said Glas's asylum protection was illegal because of the corruption allegations. Mexico abused the privileges of the embassy.

Climax of tensions

The arrest was the culmination of a week of tension between Mexico and Ecuador. On Thursday, Ecuador declared the Mexican ambassador in Quito persona non grata. The reason for this was reference to “unfortunate” statements by the left-wing Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Ecuador is angered by words from Lopez Obrador about last year's violent elections in Ecuador, in which a presidential candidate was killed.

In the election, businessman Daniel Noboa defeated left-wing candidate Luisa Gonzalez and was elected president. After the election there were serious conflicts with drug gangs. Noboa therefore declared a nationwide state of emergency at the beginning of 2024 and extended it in March.

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