Ecuadorian police raided the Mexican embassy: Mexican diplomats left Ecuador

Because of the intrusion, Mexico announced that it was severing diplomatic relations with Ecuador, followed by the severance of Nicaragua's relations with that country

by Sededin Dedovic
Ecuadorian police raided the Mexican embassy: Mexican diplomats left Ecuador
© John Moore / Getty Images

A big incident happened this weekend when the Mexican diplomatic staff stationed in Ecuador suddenly left this country. The dramatic outing followed a highly controversial Ecuadorean police raid on the Mexican embassy in Quito two days earlier.

The raid, whose goal was the arrest of the former Vice President of Ecuador, Jorge Glas, who requested asylum there, caused a diplomatic storm and provoked international condemnation, and it ended diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Ecuadorian authorities, acting on corruption allegations against Glas, stormed the Mexican embassy in a brazen show of force. This move directly violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a cornerstone of international law that guarantees the inviolability of embassy premises.

The act caused shock in the international community, with many questioning Ecuador's disregard for established diplomatic norms. For these reasons, the Mexican embassy left the country, and relations between Mexico and Ecuador reached a peak of tension.

The Mexican government reacted quickly to the embassy raid. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alicia Bárcena, in a strong statement published on social networks, announced the departure of Mexican diplomatic staff to Ecuador.

"Our diplomatic personnel are leaving everything behind in Ecuador and returning home with their heads held high after the attack on our embassy," Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barsena wrote on the X network today. Diplomats were escorted to the airport by the ambassadors of Germany, Panama, Cuba and Honduras, showing solidarity against the violations.

Mexico also took the bold step of announcing a complete severance of diplomatic relations with Ecuador. This drastic move isolates Ecuador on the international scene and significantly complicates communication between the two nations.

Furthermore, the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has promised to take the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the main judicial body of the United Nations, seeking redress for the apparent violation of international law.

President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the daily briefing at Palacio Nacional on March 12, 2024 in Mexico© Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Condemnations towards Ecuador around the world

The daring attack on the Mexican embassy caused a global wave of disapproval.

Regional powers such as Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and even Argentina, with their recent shift to a more liberal government under President Javier Milea, have all condemned the move. This shows the firm attitude of the international community towards respecting diplomatic conventions.

In addition to these countries, Nicaragua also broke off relations with Ecuador due to this case. Apart from Latin America, influential organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) and Spain have unequivocally condemned the attack.

Even the United Nations got involved, with Secretary-General António Guterres expressing concern over the incident, noting the potential disruption to normal diplomatic relations when such violations occur. The United States, while not explicitly supporting Mexico's actions, reiterated its position on adherence to the Vienna Convention and called on both sides to resolve the dispute through peaceful and diplomatic channels.

The US has condemned any violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and called on Mexico and Ecuador to resolve their disputes in compliance with international norms. According to the Vienna Convention from 1961, embassies and consulates are inviolable.

How it all began

At the heart of this diplomatic crisis lies the figure of Jorge Glass. The former vice president faces serious charges in Ecuador, including corruption, bribery and other criminal activities. On December 17, 2023, Glas sought refuge in the Mexican embassy, seeking asylum.

However, Mexico, after a lengthy review process, ultimately rejected his request based on the seriousness of the charges. The Ecuadorian government viewed Mexico's decision as a blatant disregard for their legal pursuit of the Voice.

They accused Mexico of "abusing asylum privileges" and interfering in their internal affairs. However, Mexico maintained its position that the gravity of the charges against Glas did not qualify him for asylum protection. The situation is still very unstable.

Mexico's departure from Ecuador leaves a diplomatic vacuum, further straining relations between the two countries. The upcoming emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), chaired by Honduran President Xiomara Castro, marks the urgency with which regional leaders are seeking to de-escalate the crisis.

While the way forward is unclear, there is a glimmer of hope. Joint condemnation of the embassy raid by the international community could serve as leverage to encourage both sides to dialogue. Mexico's pursuit of legal action through the ICJ potentially offers a long-term solution to address violations of international law.

However, finding a solution that respects international norms and at the same time solves Ecuador's legal problems related to Glas will be a complex challenge. This diplomatic crisis has the potential to exacerbate internal political divisions within both countries.