Jorge Glas, wanted for corruption, was detained by police at the Mexican embassy in Quito. The relationship between the two countries is now frozen.

Men in uniform and a black vehicle on the street in front of the entrance to a property at night

On Friday night, Ecuadorian security forces managed to gain access to the Mexican embassy in Quito. Photo: Dolores Ochoa/dpa

QUITO/MEXICO CITY ap/dpa | Mexico breaks diplomatic relations with Ecuador in the dispute over the political asylum of former Ecuadorian vice president Jorge Glas. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced this on Friday afternoon (local time) after Ecuadorian police entered the Mexican embassy in Quito, Ecuador's capital, to arrest Glas.

“This is not possible, it cannot be, this is crazy,” said Roberto Canseco, head of the Mexican consular department in Quito, of the police actions. “I am very worried because they could kill him. There is no basis to do this. “This is absolutely out of the norm.” Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena said she would appeal to the International Court of Justice.

The office of the Ecuadorian president, Daniel Noboa, defended the police action in a statement. “Ecuador is a sovereign country and we will not allow a criminal to remain free.” López Obrador called Glas' arrest an “authoritarian act” and “a flagrant violation of international law and Mexico's sovereignty.”

Glas, wanted for corruption, had been staying since December at the Mexican representation in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. On Friday, the Mexican Foreign Ministry announced that it wanted to grant Glas political asylum. The Foreign Ministry of South American Ecuador said then that this violated international agreements. There is an arrest warrant against Glas for embezzlement and he will not be allowed to leave the country.

Glas was vice president of Ecuador during the second term of leftist president Rafael Correa (2013-2017) – who has since been convicted of corruption and lives in exile in Belgium – and at the beginning of the term of his successor Lenín Moreno (2017-2021). . At the end of 2017 he was found guilty of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding public contracts to the Brazilian company Odebrecht. He was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison in several corruption cases. Two years ago he was released early due to the poor security situation in Ecuador's prisons.

Only on Thursday did the Ecuadorian government of conservative President Daniel Noboa declare the Mexican ambassador persona non grata. The reason was a suggestion by left-wing populist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio last August in Ecuador had contributed to Noboa's election victory in October.