Mexico's president says his country is cutting diplomatic ties with Ecuador after embassy raid

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Mexico is cutting diplomatic ties with Ecuador after police entered the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest a former Ecuadorian vice president who sought political asylum on corruption charges.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Friday evening that Ecuadorian police had forced their way into the Mexican embassy and arrested Jorge Claus, who has lived there since December, deepening a diplomatic rift between the two countries.

Glass, the country's most wanted man, was convicted of bribery and corruption. Ecuadorean authorities are still investigating the allegations against him.

Police attempt to enter the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, April 5, 2024, after Mexico granted asylum to former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glass, who took refuge inside the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. The police then forced their way into the embassy through another entrance. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Police broke down the outer doors of Mexico's diplomatic headquarters in the Ecuadorian capital and entered the main courtyard to retrieve Glass.

“It's not possible, it can't be, it's crazy,” Roberto Canseco, head of the Mexican embassy in the capital Quito, told local reporters standing outside the embassy. “I am very worried because they might kill him. There is no basis for doing this, it is completely out of order.

Defending its decision, Ecuador's president said in a statement: “Ecuador is a sovereign country and we are not going to allow any criminal to go free.”

López Obrador called the detention of Claus “a flagrant violation of international law and Mexico's sovereignty” and an “act of tyranny.”

Alicia Barcena, Mexico's secretary of foreign relations, posted on X, previously Twitter, that several diplomats were injured during the break-in, which she said violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Barcena said Mexico would take the case to the International Court of Justice to “condemn Ecuador's responsibility for violating international law.” He added that the Mexican diplomats were only waiting for the Ecuadorian government to provide the necessary guarantees for the return home.

Police escort vehicles entering the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, April 5, 2024.  Hours after the Mexican government granted him political permission, Ecuadorean police officers forced their way into the embassy where Ecuador's former vice president, Jorge Claus, was staying for asylum.  (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Police escort vehicles entering the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, April 5, 2024. Hours after the Mexican government granted him political permission, Ecuadorean police officers forced their way into the embassy where Ecuador's former vice president, Jorge Claus, was staying for asylum. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

A vehicle rolls upside down inside the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, April 5, 2024.  (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

A vehicle rolls upside down inside the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, Friday, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Ecuador's foreign ministry and Ecuador's interior ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Mexican embassy in Quito was under heavy police protection late Friday.

A day earlier, tensions between the two countries rose after Mexico's president made statements that Ecuador was “very unfortunate” about the last elections, which were won by Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa.

In response, the Ecuadorian government The Mexican ambassador declared himself a non-persona.

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