Venezuela shuts diplomatic office in Ecuador to protest Mexico embassy raid | Politics News

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Venezuela shuts diplomatic office in Ecuador to protest Mexico embassy raid | Politics News

Speaking at a summit of regional states, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro denounces raid as an ‘act of barbarism’.

Venezuela has announced plans to close its embassy and consulates in Ecuador, an act meant to signal displeasure with the recent police raid on the Mexican embassy in Quito.

Venezuela’s Ministry of Communication and Information (MIPPCI) announced the measure on Tuesday, saying that it would only reverse its decision once “international law is expressly restored in Ecuador”.

The move is the latest show of support for Mexico after experts said Ecuador violated international law by sending law enforcement onto embassy grounds.

The aim was to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas, who had been twice convicted on corruption-related charges.

He had been sheltering in the Mexican embassy since December to avoid arrest and imprisonment.

On April 5, police officers scaled the embassy’s walls and stormed the building in a successful attempt to detain Glas.

But embassies and consulates are protected under international law from unauthorised entry by local law enforcement, and video footage of the embassy raid showed police officers at various points pointing a gun at a senior diplomat and pushing him to the ground.

Mexico has since filed a complaint at the International Court of Justice calling for Ecuador to be expelled from the United Nations, pending an apology for the embassy incident.

It also severed its diplomatic relations with Ecuador, recalling its embassy staff from the country.

Speaking at a virtual conference for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro echoed Mexico’s call for an apology.

He called the police raid an “act of barbarism” and expressed his desire to see Glas transferred to Mexican custody. In the hours prior to his arrest, Mexico had offered Glas political asylum within its borders.

Glas is currently in prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he undertook a hunger strike to protest against his arrest.

Ecuador has defended the embassy raid on the grounds of pursuing justice and upholding its national security.

President Daniel Noboa, for instance, responded to the international outcry by releasing a statement that said, “I have made exceptional decisions to protect national security, the rule of law and the dignity of a people who reject any type of impunity for criminals, delinquents, corrupt people or narco-terrorists.”

But last week, a three-member tribunal in Ecuador declared the embassy raid arbitrary and illegal. Still, the panel of judges nevertheless upheld Glas’s imprisonment.

“This tribunal cannot modify the sentence,” one of the judges said in the ruling.