Ecuador Lashes Back At Mexico Over Embassy Invasion: Accuses Mexico Of Harbouring Drug Gangs, Exporting Violence.

File photo: The Presidents of Mexico and Ecuador are now at loggerheads.
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Despite international condemnation, Ecuador’s government is fiercely defending its decision to raid the Mexican embassy and arrest former vice president Jorge Glas who had taken refuge in the Quito embassy in December after an Ecuadorian court ordered his return to prison. Mexico granted him political asylum on Friday.

Mexico claimed that it had thoroughly investigated the case and it was clear that Glas had nothing to do with the corruption and bribery charges he had been convicted of.

“Under international law, it is illegal to grant political asylum to an individual facing criminal charges or who is evading a sentence of a previous conviction,” Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld said Saturday. She added that Glas had ignored a court order to return to prison to complete an eight-year sentence stemming from two corruption convictions.

Based on his recent behavior, Sommerfeld said Glas was considered a “flight risk”. “Since this government took office, we have maintained a policy of zero impunity and making sure criminals are punished,” she said.

President Daniel Noboa was also adamant that that the embassy invasion and arrest of Glas was justified.

“Ecuador’s agenda to fight crime and respect the law is determined by a majority of the people, not by a lazy minority,” he said an indigenous ceremony Saturday in Otavalo. “I am committed to restoring peace and order for all Ecuadorians, but leadership requires that I make difficult decision to pave the way for better days ahead.”

On Sunday, Noboa repeated Sommerfeld’s legal justification for the arrest of Glas, saying that Mexico only granted Glas asylum following the “insults delivered earlier in the week” by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “This was a snap decision that followed Ecuador’s complaint about those careless and insulting comments,” the president said.

Almost all governments in Latin America have criticized Ecuador’s embassy raid, citing the Vienna Convention that recognizes the sovereignty of foreign embassies. In addition, regional organizations such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) condemned the raid.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that it will take its case against Ecuador to the United Nations International Court of Justice, although it acknowledged that the action could take months or even years to resolve.

To support its position, the foreign ministry posted Article 3 of the United Nations rule regarding the granting of political asylum.

It reads: “It is not lawful to grant asylum to persons who, at the time of their application for asylum, are accused by, or are being prosecuted by competent courts for ordinary crimes, or who have been convicted of such crimes by such courts without having served the respective sentences.”

The family of assassinated presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio also defended the government’s action, blasting Obrador’s Wednesday remarks and suggesting that Villavicencio’s murder came on orders from Mexican drug cartels.

“He [Obrador] started the controversy with his irresponsible claim that Fernando Villavicencio was responsible for the Correistas losing the election,” said Amanda Villavicencio, Fernando’s daughter. “Everything my father said about corruption has been proven true and to say his evidence was aimed at one political party is absurd and insulting. He was fighting against corruption, no matter who committed it.”

She added: “Before you speak again of my father, wash out your mouth, López Obrador!”

Villavicencio’s wife Veronica Sarauz, also repudiated Obrador’s remarks. “He has exported the violence from Mexico that killed my husband,” she said. “He allows the cartels impunity to operate and to murder those who oppose them. He is Latin America’s merchant of death.”

Sources: Cuenca High Life, BBC, CNN, El Universo.

 

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