Former vice president of Ecuador is taken to prison in Guayaquil after the invasion of the Mexican embassy. The Ecuadorian police invaded the embassy on Friday night (5) to arrest Jorge Glas, who had been taking refuge there since December 2023.

The former vice president of Ecuador, Jorge Glas, after being arrested at the Mexican Embassy in Quito, was transferred to a maximum security penitentiary in Guayaquil. This operation was carried out by the Ecuadorian police, who invaded the embassy to arrest Glas, a refugee since December 2023.

Glas is now detained at the Deprivation of Liberty Center nº3 in Guayas, also known as La Roca prison. The transfer was confirmed by the National Service for Comprehensive Care for Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI), responsible for the administration of prisons in the country.

The transfer of the former vice president was marked by a large police apparatus, involving agents from the Armed Forces and the Ecuadorian National Police.

Mexico abruptly suspended bilateral relations with Ecuador in a worsening diplomatic row after Ecuadorian police forced their way into Mexico’s embassy in Quito to arrest a former vice president on corruption charges.

Why did Ecuador invade the Mexican embassy?
Heavily armed police in balaclavas stormed the Mexican embassy on Friday night to arrest Jorge Glas, the left-wing former vice president of Ecuador, wanted on corruption charges. Glas had been living at the embassy since December, after requesting asylum in the North American country, which was only granted by Mexico on Friday.

Ecuador, which asked Mexico for permission to enter the embassy in March to detain Glas, argues that the offer of asylum was illegal because under international law, people facing charges should not be granted asylum. Mexico, whose President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador immediately suspended relations with Ecuador after the invasion, said it had studied Glas’ case thoroughly. The arrest capped a week of rising tensions between the two Latin American countries, after Quito declared the Mexican ambassador persona non grata, citing “regrettable” comments from left-wing Lopez Obrador.

The Mexican president compared election-related violence in the two countries, claiming that the assassination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio last year was unfairly linked to the leftist candidate in the race, who subsequently lost. Lopez Obrador also blamed what he called corrupt media for what he described as election manipulation. The media has been a frequent target of Lopez Obrador’s irritation during his nearly six years in office.

Who is Jorge Glas and what charges does he face?
Glas, who was vice president during Rafael Correa’s government between 2013 and 2017, was twice convicted in corruption cases and now faces new accusations of misuse of public resources. He was initially sentenced to six years in late 2017 after being found guilty of taking bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for awarding state contracts to the scandal-ridden company.

Glas, aged 54, was convicted again in 2020 for using money from construction companies to finance campaigns for Correa’s political movement, receiving an eight-year sentence. Correa, who has lived in Belgium since leaving office, was convicted in the same case. Both have long claimed the charges are politically motivated, a charge prosecutors deny. Glas served more than four years in prison before being released in 2022, only to be arrested again the same year after a court ruled he needed to serve the remainder of his sentences, although his lawyers requested that he serve the sentences concurrently and benefit from parole. He was last released in November 2022, but Glas faces new accusations of embezzling funds raised to help rebuild the coastal province of Manabi after a devastating earthquake in 2016. His lawyers appealed in December a judge’s decision to send him back. him back to prison, arguing that his life could be in danger, but was denied.

What was the regional reaction?
On Saturday, governments across the political spectrum in Latin America – including Brazil and Colombia on the left, and Argentina and Uruguay on the right – strongly criticized Glas’ arrest. The Brazilian government condemned Ecuador’s action as a “clear violation” of international norms that prohibit such an invasion of a foreign embassy, ​​while Argentina called for compliance with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

What will happen next?
Mexico’s foreign ministry said it will file a complaint with the United Nations International Court of Justice, while the government of left-wing Colombian President Gustavo Petro said it will seek human rights protections for Glas from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, saying that his right to asylum was “barbarically violated”. The Washington-based Organization of American States said a session of the body’s permanent council will be convened to discuss the need for strict compliance with international treaties.


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