Mexican diplomatic staff based in Quito will leave Ecuador on Sunday April 7, two days after the police raid against the Mexican embassy which triggered international disapproval and the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Since Friday, Ecuador has been the target of a barrage of criticism in Latin America, joined by the UN, after police burst into the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest the former Ecuadorian vice-president. accused of corruption Jorge Glas, who had taken refuge there.

Eighteen people, diplomats and members of their families, will leave for Mexico on Sunday aboard a commercial flight, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a press release on Saturday.

Among them are Ambassador Raquel Serur – who had been declared persona non grata by Ecuador – and the head of the diplomatic mission Roberto Canseco. All will be accompanied to the airport by personnel from “friendly and allied countries” who have offered to “ensure” their “integrity”, details the ministry.

Friday’s intrusion into the embassy, ​​without recent precedent in the world, was condemned by left-wing governments in Latin America, from Brazil to Venezuela, via Chile, and even by the Argentina of ultraliberal President Javier Milei. Most of them cited the Vienna Convention, which guarantees the inviolability of embassies.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday he was “alarmed” by the raid, believing that any violation of diplomatic precincts “compromises the pursuit of normal international relations”, according to his spokesperson.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who holds the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called for an emergency meeting on Monday.

The Organization of American States (OAS) expressed its rejection of “any action that violates or compromises the inviolability of the premises of diplomatic representations.”

Severance of diplomatic relations between the two countries

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador denounced a “flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico,” and said he intended to take the case to the International Court of Justice.

In the process, Mexico announced on Friday the immediate severance of diplomatic relations with Ecuador, followed on Saturday by Nicaragua.

The United States – which condemns “any violation of the Vienna Convention” – encouraged Mexico and Ecuador “to resolve their disputes in compliance with international standards”, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Around fifty people demonstrated on Saturday evening in front of the Ecuadorian embassy in Mexico City, shouting “fascist”.

The Mexican embassy in Quito was surrounded by police on Saturday, and the national flag was removed from its flagpole in the courtyard of the building.

Mr. Glas, 54, was transferred to a high-security prison in Guayaquil, in southwest Ecuador, on Saturday, according to government sources.

Footage published in local media shows the head of the Mexican diplomatic mission, Roberto Canseco, shouting “this is a scandal! » while running behind vehicles leaving his embassy. A stampede ensued, during which Mr. Canseco fell to the ground. “It’s totally out of the norm, I’m very worried that they could kill Jorge Glas,” Mr. Canesco told local television, still shaking.

Jorge Glas sentenced for embezzlement of public funds

Mexico granted asylum on Friday to Jorge Glas, who had taken refuge in its embassy in Quito since December 17 and was the subject of an arrest warrant for alleged corruption.

Quito had described this decision as “illegal”, denouncing an “abuse of immunities and privileges” granted to the embassy and interference in its internal affairs. “Jorge Glas has been the subject of an enforceable conviction and an arrest warrant issued by the competent authorities,” commented the Ecuadorian Ministry of Communication.

The granting of asylum to Mr. Glas came the day after Ecuador’s decision to expel the Mexican ambassador to Quito, following criticism by the Mexican president of the conduct of the Ecuadorian presidential election. 2023.

On Wednesday, Mr. Lopez Obrador accused the Ecuadorian authorities of having exploited the assassination of opposition candidate Fernando Villavicencio, on August 9, 2023, to favor the election of the liberal Daniel Noboa to the presidency of Ecuador, to the detriment of left-wing candidate Luisa González. Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead after a campaign rally in northern Quito a few days before the August 20 election.

The government of Ecuador, which is fighting against criminal gangs competing for drug trafficking routes, considered these comments offensive.

Jorge Glas, vice-president between 2013 and 2017 under former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), is accused of having embezzled public funds intended for the reconstruction of coastal cities after an earthquake in 2016.

In another case, he was sentenced in 2017 to six years in prison for corruption in a vast scandal involving the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. He was released last November.