Diplomatic tensions rise in Latin America

Nicaragua has severed diplomatic relations with Ecuador after police in Quito stormed the Mexican embassy

Nicaragua has formally severed all relations with Ecuador, escalating the diplomatic fallout over a police raid in Quito to arrest a politician who was taking refuge at the Mexican embassy.

The Nicaraguan government announced its decision on Saturday, declaring its “forceful, emphatic and irrevocable rejection” of the storming of Mexico’s diplomatic outpost in Quito. The assault ended a months-long standoff over the Mexican embassy’s sheltering of former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas, who is facing corruption charges.

“Given the unusual and reprehensible action in Quito by forces that are supposed to protect the order and safety of Ecuadorian citizens and their lives … we declare our sovereign decision to sever all diplomatic relations with the government of Ecuador,” Nicaraguan authorities said in a statement. They added that Nicaragua’s government condemns “the neo-fascist political barbarism of the government of Ecuador, whose admirable people deserve, as always, all our love, support and solidarity.”

The statement also reaffirmed Nicaragua’s “commitment to international law and conventions that govern civilized relations between countries and governments around the world.”

The rebuke from Managua came hours after Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with Ecuador over Friday’s raid. Governments across South America – including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras – denounced the incident.

The Organization of American States issued a statement saying that Ecuador had breached the “inviolability” of another government’s diplomatic property. The regional group called for talks between the Ecuadorian and Mexican governments to resolve their differences.

Mexico had granted political asylum to Glas and refused Ecuador’s request for permission to arrest him. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Glas was facing “persecution and harassment,” and the police raid was “a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico.” The Ecuadorian government claimed that the arrest was carried out to defend Quito’s sovereignty and that Mexico had abused the “immunities and privileges granted to its diplomatic mission.”