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Latin American governments condemn Ecuador after police raid Mexican embassy – The Guardian

Governments across Latin America – including regional heavyweight Brazil – expressed support for Mexico after its embassy in Ecuador was raided by police in search of a controversial politician who had been granted asylum by Mexican authorities.

The late Friday night arrest of Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s former vice-president who was detained on graft charges, triggered a suspension of relations with Quito by Mexico City, with the government of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, blasting the unusual diplomatic incursion and arrest as an “authoritarian” act, as well as a breach of international law and Mexico’s sovereignty.

The government of Ecuador’s president Daniel Noboa had argued asylum protections were illegal because of the corruption charges Glas is facing.

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

On Saturday, 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 arrest of Glas, who had sought refuge in the embassy since December.

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 Brasília’s solidarity with Mexico.

Nicaragua formally severed “all diplomatic relations” with Ecuador on Saturday, the Nicaraguan government announced in a statement.

Police detain the former Ecuadorian vice-president, Jorge Glas in Quito.
Police detain the former Ecuadorian vice-president, Jorge Glas in Quito. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

In video circulating on social media, Glas could be seen 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 Ecuador’s largest city.

US state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the United States condemns any violation of the convention protecting diplomatic missions. His statement added that the US encourages “the two countries to resolve their differences in accord with international norms”.

In an interview with local broadcaster Milenio on Saturday 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 were injured in the raid. She added that Glas was 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”.

Also on Saturday, the Washington-based Organization of American States issued a call for dialogue to resolve the escalating dispute between Ecuador and Mexico, adding in a statement that a session of the body’s permanent council will be convened to discuss the need for “strict compliance with international treaties, including those that guarantee the right to asylum”.

Colombian president Gustavo Petro, meanwhile, 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.

Glas, convicted twice for corruption, had been holed up in the embassy in Quito since seeking political asylum in December, a request Mexico granted on Friday.

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

In 2017, Glas, the former second-in-command to ex-President Rafael Correa, also a leftist, was sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of taking bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht in exchange for awarding it government contracts.

As he faced a fresh arrest warrant on separate graft charges, Glas has claimed he is the victim of political persecution, a charge Ecuador’s government has denied.