A Diplomatic Spat in Ecuador May Lift Its President’s Political Fortunes

Ecuador’s decision to send police officers into the Mexican Embassy to arrest a politician who had taken refuge there inflamed tensions between two countries that were already at odds, but it may prove a political boon for the Ecuadorean president.

President Daniel Noboa has been faced with flagging approval ratings amid rising violence weeks before a referendum that could affect his prospects for re-election next year. The spat with Mexico, which suspended diplomatic relations, may be just what he needed.

The politician who was arrested, Jorge Glas, a former vice president of Ecuador, had been sentenced to prison for corruption and living at the Mexican Embassy in Quito since December. Then on Friday, Mexico granted him asylum, and the Ecuadorean police moved in.

Mr. Noboa’s office said that the arrest had gone forward because Mexico had abused the immunities and privileges granted to the diplomatic mission, but the message it sent was also in keeping line with Mr. Noboa’s hardhanded approach to tackling violence and graft in Ecuador.

The 36-year-old center-right leader came to power in November after President Guillermo Lasso, facing impeachment proceedings over accusations of embezzlement, called for early elections. Mr. Noboa is in office until May 2025, the remainder of Mr. Lasso’s term.

Mr. Noboa’s ability to show that he can restore law and order to the nation of nearly 18 million may prove critical to his re-election, and that means tackling the country’s gangs, as well as corruption within the government that has enabled criminal groups, analysts say.

Back to top button