Mexico asks UN to expel Ecuador after raid on its embassy

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Mexico has asked the UN to expel Ecuador over the police raid on its embassy in Quito last week, the latest escalation in a diplomatic feud that has erupted between the two Latin American countries.

Mexican officials said on Thursday that they had filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice, the UN’s top court, asking the organisation to suspend Ecuador pending a public apology for the raid last Friday on the Mexican embassy, in which officials captured Ecuador’s former vice-president, Jorge Glas.

“The court, in accordance with the United Nations charter, should approve the expulsion, and there should be no veto [from the UN Security Council],” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at a press conference.

The claim seeks “to establish the precedent that any state that acts as Ecuador did will be expelled from the United Nations”, added Alicia Bárcena, Mexico’s foreign minister.

Mexico is also demanding reparations for damages and a promise that such an action will not happen again. But Ecuador’s foreign minister Gabriela Sommerfeld has said that an apology “is not something that is under discussion at this moment”.

The diplomatic spat began when Glas took refuge in Mexico’s embassy in December after being charged with corruption. He served as Ecuador’s vice-president from 2013-18 under Rafael Correa, a leftwing ally of López Obrador.

Tensions rose sharply last week when López Obrador suggested that conservatives in Ecuador had used the 2023 assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio to swing the election in favour of Daniel Noboa, who subsequently won, and prevent the return of Correa’s movement.

In response, Ecuador declared the Mexican ambassador persona non grata. The next day, Mexico granted Glas asylum, and Ecuadorean authorities raided the embassy hours later.

Lawyers for Glas have said that the former official is on hunger strike. He was hospitalised on Monday evening after refusing food for more than 24 hours, prison officials said, before being transferred on Tuesday back to the maximum security jail known as “the rock” in Guayaquil.

Ecuador’s government has said that the shelter granted to Glas was illegal due to the former vice-president’s corruption charges. 

However, Latin American leaders from across the political spectrum have condemned Ecuador’s actions, and the US, EU and the UN have all joined a chorus of criticism.

Luis Almagro, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, a regional group, said that Ecuador’s actions could not be allowed to set a precedent.

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