Mexico grants asylum to former Ecuadorian vice president amid diplomatic dispute | Mexico News

Amid an escalating diplomatic standoff, Mexico has granted asylum to Ecuador’s former vice president, who has been accused of bribery while in office.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that it has offered political asylum to Jorge Glass, who has been staying at the Mexican embassy in Quito since late last year.

The statement called on Quito to grant “safe passage” to Glass, who has been twice convicted of corruption, to leave the country.

“Once asylum is granted, the country of asylum can request the asylum seeker to leave the foreign territory, and the territorial state can request the asylum seeker to leave the foreign territory. [Ecuador] It is our duty to immediately allow the person in question safe passage,” Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. I have written.

The ministry also condemned what it called “an increased presence of Ecuadorian police” outside the embassy in Quito. Ecuadorian authorities continued to seek permission to enter the embassy and arrest Mr. Glass, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2017.

The announcement came amid heightened tensions between the two countries.Thursday, Ecuador declared In response to comments by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican ambassador said he was “persona non grata.”

What did López Obrador say?

The remarks that sparked the diplomatic incident were broadcast Wednesday during President López Obrador’s daily press conference.

Mexico’s leftist president hinted to reporters that violence influenced the outcome of Ecuador’s recent presidential election.

“Elections were held in Ecuador in a very strange way,” López Obrador explained. He then discussed the assassination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio in August 2023, a few weeks before the first round of voting.

López Obrador suggested that front-runner Luisa González ultimately lost the Ecuadorian election because of Villavicencio’s murder and the media speculation it generated.

Villavicencio was a longtime anti-corruption activist and vocal critic of Gonzalez’s leftist party, the Citizens Revolutionary Movement.

“A male candidate who spoke ill of a female candidate who was in the top position is suddenly killed,” López Obrador said, without naming Villavicencio or González. “Then the top female candidates fall.”

Gonzalez narrowly lost the Ecuadorian presidency to center-right businessman Daniel Novoa in an October runoff. Daniel Novoa is a relative newcomer to national politics and an heir to a fortune from the banana industry.

What was your reaction?

Following López Obrador’s comments on Thursday, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry declared Mexico’s ambassador to Ecuador, Raquel Cerul Smeque, persona non grata and told her to leave the country “immediately.”

It also acknowledged the assassination of Villavicencio on August 9 outside a political rally in Quito.

“Ecuador continues to mourn this unfortunate event, which shocked Ecuadorian society and threatened democracy, peace and security,” the ministry said. He also called López Obrador’s comments on the issue “unfortunate.”

But supporters of the Mexican president defended his remarks, saying he was trying to compare the situation in Ecuador to recent violence faced by Mexico in the run-up to the June 2 election.

Several local Mexican candidates have already been killed, including Berta Guisela Gaitán, a candidate representing López Obrador’s Morena party in the Celaya mayoral race.

Critics also point out that López Obrador’s statements seem to be primarily criticizing the media. In his Wednesday remarks, López Obrador accused media outlets of stirring up a “heated atmosphere” in Ecuador before the vote.

President López Obrador said Friday that Mexico would not expel Ecuador’s ambassador in retaliation.

Speaking just before the Foreign Office’s announcement on Glass, he dismissed suggestions there was any conflict between the two countries.

“For a conflict to occur, two parties need to be involved,” he said. He also called Mexico’s ambassador to Ecuador, Cerul Smeku, “an exceptional person.”

López Obrador, known for his outspokenness, has heightened tensions in recent years with his comments on regional politics. Last year, for example, he provoked Peru’s ire by offering asylum to impeached and currently imprisoned former president Pedro Castillo.

He also questioned the legitimacy of Castillo’s successor, current president Dina Bolarte. “We do not want economic and trade relations with Peru unless there is democratic normality in Peru,” he said.

Peru’s Congress responded by declaring López Obrador “persona non grata.”

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