Embassy Fights Escalate Tensions | God's World News

Embassy Fights Escalate Tensions

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    Police break into the Mexican embassy in Quito, Ecuador, on April 5, 2024. They arrested former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas after Mexico granted asylum to him there. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)
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    A military vehicle transports former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas from the detention center where he was held after police broke into the Mexican Embassy to arrest him in Quito, Ecuador. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)
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    Jorge Glas enters a courtroom for a 2018 hearing in Quito, Ecuador. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)
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    Ecuador’s ambassador Andres Teran Parral, left, and agent Ana Maria Larrea, second left, wait for judges to enter the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Mexico took Ecuador to the United Nations’ top court. (AP/Peter Dejong)
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    Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, legal advisor of the Mexico Foreign Minister, gives a statement outside the International Court of Justice. (AP/Peter Dejong)
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    Supporters of former Vice President Jorge Glas celebrate after an Ecuadorian court of justice declared that his arrest inside Mexico’s embassy was illegal. However, the court ordered that Glas remain in prison to serve a previously given sentence. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)
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Mexico and Ecuador disagree. Each accuses the other of wrongdoing. Judges at the United Nations must settle the matter.

It’s hard for sinful humans to treat each other well—as in the quarrels and conflicts of James 4:1—never mind whole countries full of them. In April, a problem developed in Latin America.

An Ecuador court had convicted former Vice President Jorge Glas of bribery and corruption last year. Glas fled to the Mexican Embassy in Quito. On April 5, after four months, Mexican Embassy officials granted asylum to the fugitive Glas.

So Ecuador police stormed the embassy. Surveillance video shows police shoving Mexico’s ambassador to the ground during the raid. The conflict ignited major “quarrels and conflicts” between the two countries.

An embassy is the headquarters for government representatives serving in another country. Important government officials work and sometimes live there. Most embassies enjoy particular privileges. For example, embassy officials have something called “diplomatic immunity.” That means the host country cannot prosecute embassy employees for violating local laws.

An embassy is viewed as the property of the embassy country, not the host country. No one may enter an embassy without permission—not even to put out a fire!

Attacking a country’s embassy is treated as attacking the country. That is why people sometimes seek protection inside an embassy friendly to their cause.

Mexico says Ecuador violated worldwide law when its troops stormed the Mexican embassy to grab Glas.

Leaders across Latin America condemned the raid. Many called it a violation of the rules of global relations known as the Vienna Convention.

“There are lines in international law which should not be crossed,” says Alejandro Celorio Alcantara, Mexico’s legal advisor. “The Republic of Ecuador has crossed them.” He warns the action may become a pattern.

Mexico wants the UN’s International Court of Justice (IJC) to “provide full protection and security” for the embassy, to award restitution money, and to suspend Ecuador from the United Nations.

Ecuador defends its incursion into the Mexican embassy. Officials say they acted to seize a convicted felon inside.

Ecuador filed its own case at the IJC. It contends that Mexico’s granting of asylum to a convicted criminal was itself a violation of the Vienna Convention.

“Mexico, for months misused its diplomatic premises in Quito to shelter a common criminal,” says the leader of Ecuador’s legal team, Andres Teran Parral.

With all the back-and-forth, it’s likely to take months for the IJC to sort the accusations and arrive at a verdict.

Why? Global conflicts offer a window into human relations. Pride, greed, self-interest, lawlessness—these things drive countries as well as individuals. God calls and equips Christians to behave differently.

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