top of page

FLASH ALERT: MEXICAN AND ECUADORIAN DIPLOMATS AND EXPATRIATES MONITOR UPDATES; DIPLOMATIC TIES CUT AFTER ECUADORIAN AUTHORITIES ARRESTED FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DURING INCURSION INTO MEXICAN EMBASSY

Léonard Vacelet–Revolio, Zara Price, Leon Kille, Mateo Maya, Agathe Labadi, Nicholas Novak, Martina Sclaverano, Weapons & Tactics

Alya Fathia Fitri, Jessica Wilson Editor; Elena Alice Rossetti, Senior Editor

April 8, 2024


Ecuador Flag[1]


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT to Ecuadorian and Mexican diplomats, Mexican expatriates living in Ecuador, travelers, and migrants following the Ecuadorian authorities’ seizure of former Vice President Jorge Glas from the Mexican embassy and the subsequent suspension of bilateral relations. Mexican embassy personnel departed Ecuador, leaving the country and Mexican expatriates without Mexican representation. Legal and diplomatic outcomes are still unknown, likely evolving through the next weeks/months. The suspension of diplomatic ties between Mexico and Ecuador will likely increase political tensions and security issues exposing Ecuadorian and Mexican expatriates, likely dividing and impacting regional powers.


CTG is on HIGH alert for the immediate suspension of diplomatic ties between Mexico and Ecuador. The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations governs the legal framework of "diplomatic immunity," prohibiting foreign forces from forcibly entering embassies. Protests will VERY LIKELY spread to other Latin American countries. Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa’s government opposition will VERY LIKELY increase pressure on Noboa’s office, LIKELY contesting future decisions and politics. The dispute between Mexico and Ecuador will LIKELY change the regional balance of power, hindering regional cooperation and increasing political and security instability.


Introduction

On the evening of April 5, 2024, Ecuadorian armed forces forcefully entered the Mexican Embassy in Quito to arrest former Vice President Jorge Glas. In response, the Mexican President suspended diplomatic relations with Ecuador, repatriating the Embassy staff on April 7.[2] Diplomatic tensions between the two governments had gradually intensified since Glas sought refuge in the Mexican embassy on December 17, 2023.[3]  The raid followed a week of escalations between Mexico and Ecuador, who contested the decision of Mexico to guarantee Glas’ political asylum. On Thursday, Ecuador declared the Mexican ambassador in Quito a persona non grata in reaction to "unfortunate comments" by the Mexican president about Ecuador’s media manipulation and candidate assassination affecting the left-wing candidate’s defeat in the last presidential election.[4] Before the incident, Ecuador increased the presence of armed forces and law enforcement outside the Mexican Embassy, which Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador described as a disrespect for Mexico’s sovereignty and a violation of international obligations.[5]


Ecuador requested a meeting under the lead of the Organization of American States (OEA) to discuss further norms and implications of diplomatic and asylum relations. Mexico announced it will appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and pertinent regional/international entities to denounce Ecuador’s international law violations.[6] Mexico has declared that the Ecuadorian Embassy personnel in Mexico City could continue their activities until further notice. Legal representatives of the Revolucion Ciudadania (RC) political party presented a legal action citing Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to condemn the operation against the Mexican Embassy and initiated a “Habeas Corpus” for Jorge Glas. The opposition of Noboa’s government requested the resignation of the Ecuadorian President.[7]


Ecuadorian authorities justified their operation by highlighting Glas’s crimes and the Mexican government's previous actions granting asylum to other convicted political figures with ties to the former Vice President and the RC party. Ecuadorian authorities moved Jorge Glas to the maximum security prison “La Roca” in Guayaquil. On April 8, Ecuadorian authorities transferred Jorge Glas to the Military Hospital in Guayaquil due to an alleged overdose of medications, and he is now stable.[8] 


Analysis 

The Mexican government will likely face backlash from public opinion for granting political asylum on political persecution grounds and hosting several former members of the Correa administration. The result of the Mexican presidential elections in June will unlikely impact the diplomatic ties suspension with Ecuador, very likely influencing the future Mexican government to decrease economic and security cooperation with the Ecuadorian State. Lopez Obrador's political opponents will very likely use his handling of the situation and Ecuador’s raid to criticize his foreign policy management and weaken his position on the domestic political scene. They will likely present the incident as a consequence of the Mexican president's comments on the domestic political situation in neighboring countries such as Peru, which have very likely contributed to the deterioration of Mexican diplomatic relations with these States. Mexican citizens will likely pressure the presidential candidates to handle the situation and avoid future potential diplomatic crises.


Mexican expatriates will very likely push Mexico to rehabilitate consular services. Mexican and Ecuadorian expatriates will likely face difficulties in staying, studying, traveling, and working in both countries. Further tensions and escalations will likely reduce their abilities to move freely and enjoy basic rights such as obtaining official documentation or emergency repatriation. There is a roughly even chance that expatriates will suffer discrimination, violence, and social seclusion.  


Ecuadorian authorities and diplomats will likely lose international credibility, especially with political and social organizations. There is a roughly even chance the Ecuadorian public will support Noboa´s decision on the incursion into the Mexican embassy. Ecuador's regional leverage will likely decrease, likely influenced by the lack of support from Latin American countries. There is a roughly even chance that other countries in the region such as Colombia, Bolivia, or Argentina will reduce or suspend diplomatic ties with the Ecuadorian state, following Mexico and Nicaragua's leads. The abrupt regional political and diplomatic changes will likely impact security/defense, economic, and social cooperation, likely allowing the growth of organized crime influence and impunity. The diplomatic crisis will likely temporarily hinder bilateral trade and complicate the activities of Mexican and Ecuadorian companies operating in both countries. The increased tensions between the two governments will likely delay the current negotiations on a free trade agreement between Ecuador and Mexico.


The Ecuadorian authorities will likely seek to further enforce the sentences of other public figures accused or convicted of corruption. The raid will likely create fear among the political opposition and former members of the Correa government. The breach of diplomatic premises by Ecuador will almost certainly set a precedent redefining perceptions of embassy protection and immunity. This situation will likely discourage former government officials, public figures, and Ecuadorian citizens who are facing criminal investigations or prosecution from seeking diplomatic asylum in embassies in Ecuador. Other embassies located in Ecuador will almost certainly increase their security measures, monitor Ecuador's operations, and likely reduce the acceptance of Ecuadorian asylum seekers.


Recommendations

  • CTG recommends that Mexican expatriates located in Ecuador and Ecuadorian expatriates living in Mexico stay informed and prepared, and increase safety and security measures, such as avoiding protests, maintaining a low profile, and developing personal safety plans that include evacuation routes.

  • Mexican and Ecuadorian citizens should proactively prepare for potential alterations in travel regulations or visa requirements when planning visits to either Mexico or Ecuador.

  • CTG recommends travelers regularly check for updates on travel advisories, diplomatic relations, and legal changes that could impact travel or residency status.

  • Travelers should familiarize themselves with the location and contact information of their country’s embassy or consulate, understanding the scope of consular services available to nationals abroad.

  • CTG recommends avoiding protests or political gatherings, as these can escalate quickly and may result in arrests, injuries, or unwanted attention from local authorities.

  • CTG recommends that protesters avoid inciting hate speech, physical violence, and damage against Ecuadorian and Mexican nationals and buildings.


CTG assesses that the current threat climate is HIGH due to the arrest of former Vice President Jorge Glas and the immediate suspension of bilateral relations between Ecuador and Mexico. There is a roughly even chance Ecuador´s international credibility in the state structure and its judiciary system will deteriorate. The Ecuadorian government will very likely extend the state of emergency, very likely prolonging the internal conflict in the country due to drug-related violence and organized crime. There is a roughly even chance of potential changes in both countries' travel regulations. There likely is a high risk of Ecuador and Mexico targeting each other's public officials. There is likely a high risk of setting a precedent for other States to ignore international accords and conduct incursions on foreign diplomatic buildings. 


Analysis indicates that there is a HIGH PROBABILITY that Ecuador will face legal consequences, LIKELY impacting its international influence and relations with Latin American countries. The severed diplomatic relations between Mexico and Ecuador will VERY LIKELY worsen, ALMOST CERTAINLY if an ICJ trial occurs. Ecuador will LIKELY face serious legal consequences from multiple international forums for its violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Ecuador is LIKELY to face further diplomatic isolation in Latin America due to its use of force against the sovereign territory of another country.


Are you a threat, security, investigative, intelligence, or operational professional? Do you need to stay ahead of the latest threats? Then try the Counter Threat Center for free!

The CTC provides critical intelligence and knowledge of the wide range of global threats to agencies, organizations, companies, and individuals. With our help, you can detect, deter, and defeat any threat before it can harm those you have been charged to protect.

Sign up for a free trial today and see how the CTC can help you keep your people and assets safe.  Click here to learn more: https://www.counterthreatcenter.com/subscriptions  

  • The CTC provides access to critical intelligence and knowledge of the latest threats.

  • The CTC helps you detect, deter, and defeat threats before they can cause harm.

  • The CTC is free to try for a limited time.

  • The CTC is a valuable resource for threat, security, investigative, intelligence, and operational professionals.

 

[1] Ecuador by CIA World Factbook licensed under Public Domain

[2] Mexico breaks relations with Ecuador after embassy stormed, Reuters, April 2024,

[3]Ecuador and Mexico were feuding over election and asylum before embassy break-in, AP News, April 2024,

[4] Mexico welcomes home Ecuador embassy staff after armed raid, Reuters, April 2024,

[5] Mexico deplores Ecuador’s declaration of Ambassador Raquel Serur Smeke as persona non grata, GOBIERNO MX, April 2024,

[6] A pedido de Ecuador, la OEA convocó una reunión extraordinaria para tratar el incidente con México, Infobae, April 2024,

[7] Revolución Ciudadana presentó ‘habeas corpus’ a favor de Jorge Glas en la Corte Nacional, El Universo, April 2024,

[8] Jorge Glas is “stable” after an alleged drug overdose, El Universo, April 2024, https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/politica/jorge-glas-fue-trasladado-al-hospital-militar-por-una-supuesta-sobredosis-de-medicamentos-nota/  (Translated by Google)

83 views

Comments


bottom of page