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Sunday, May 19, 2024, 4:50 am

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Ecuador ought to abide with the provisions of international law.

Ecuador
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The raid by Ecuador on April 5 at the Mexican embassy in Quito is a flagrant breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which governs how countries run their embassies abroad. The goal of the raid was to apprehend Jorge David Glas, a former vice president under socialist former president Rafael Correa who has been found guilty of corruption. Additionally, Mr. Correa—who resides in Belgium now—has been found guilty of corruption. According to Mr. Glas and Mr. Correa, the cases brought against them have political motivations. However, Daniel Noboa, the president of Ecuador, saw the prosecutions against the previous elites as a component of his broader fight against corruption. After Mr. Glas sought asylum in the Mexican embassy in Quito in December, only one month after Mr. Noboa took office, tensions between the two nations were very high. Raquel Serur Smeke, the ambassador of Mexico, was proclaimed persona non grata by Ecuador last week in response to remarks made by Andrés Manuel López Ortiz, the socialist president of Mexico, criticising Ecuador’s 2023 elections. Additionally, Mexico chose to give Mr. Glas asylum, which infuriated Ecuador. Declaring the decision unconstitutional, given that Mr. Glas was facing legal proceedings in the nation, it promptly dispatched armed police officers to the embassy to make the arrest, therefore igniting a serious diplomatic issue. Mexico has now filed a request for Ecuador’s removal from the UN with the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, claiming that its sovereignty has been violated.

The embassy raid occurs at a moment when domestic opposition of President Noboa is growing due to an upsurge in gang-related violence. He took office on a platform of combating gang violence and corruption.

After presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed in Quito during the campaign, last year’s presidential election was tainted by deadly violence. Although Mr. Noboa maintains his commitment to combating gangs and reestablishing order in Ecuador’s towns, the rising levels of violence, particularly in the coastal city of Guayaquil, which was taken over by gangs in January, have negatively impacted his support rating. Over 100 killings occurred over the Easter weekend in Ecuador, a nation of 18 million people, due to the dire circumstances there. According to his detractors, Mr. Noboa is leveraging the diplomatic standoff with Mexico to further his political career. However, instead of resolving the original problem, he has only set off a new one. Next week, Ecuadorians will have the opportunity to cast their votes in a referendum that would grant the government more authority to combat gang violence. In the fight against organised crime, the government must get its act together, but it should do so within the bounds of both national and international law. Going rogue inside a neighbouring country’s embassy in the name of combating corruption won’t help Ecuador address the numerous issues it is currently experiencing.

ABHISHEK VERMA


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