Ecuadorian Police Raid Mexican Embassy

( – Tensions have flared in Latin America after Ecuadorian police forced their way into Mexico’s embassy to the country. The cops were after Ecuador’s former vice president, who was wanted on multiple charges. However, they violated an international convention on the status of embassies, and that’s caused outrage.

Former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas was suspended in August 2017 and, four months later, sentenced to six years in prison on serious corruption charges. More charges and another 16 years of prison sentences followed, but due to health issues, Glas was released on parole in November 2022 on the condition that he didn’t leave the country.

However, in December 2023, facing the threat of more charges, Glas fled to the Mexican Embassy in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and asked for asylum.

The fact Glas was given refuge in the embassy angered Ecuador and seriously damaged relations between the two countries. Then, on April 5, Ecuador escalated the situation dramatically when a squad of armed National Police broke into the embassy and arrested Glas. Mexico immediately suspended diplomatic relations with Ecuador, and foreign minister Alicia Bárcena says some Mexican diplomats were injured during the raid.

Although it’s not actually true that embassies are the sovereign territory of the country that operates them, they are protected under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Under Article 31 of that convention, the host nation’s authorities –- including police –- aren’t allowed to enter the embassy without permission.

Ecuador has just spectacularly violated the rules of diplomacy. Multiple countries, including the US, Argentina, Colombia, and Uruguay, have condemned the raid, as have the UN and the Organization of American States. It’s easy to understand why Ecuador wanted Glas back in custody — he’s been convicted of taking multimillion-dollar bribes and wasting public funds. But as one Mexican academic pointed out, doing it this way is “endangering all the embassies of all the states in the world.”

Glas has since been hospitalized following his arrest.

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