Security forces carry operation of transferring former Ecuador Vice President Jorge Glas from the Flagrancy Unit, in Quito

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Latin American governments, including regional heavyweight Brazil, rallied around Mexico on Saturday after its embassy in Ecuador was raided to arrest on graft charges a controversial politician who had been granted asylum by Mexican authorities.

The late Friday night seizure of Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s former vice president, triggered a swift suspension of relations with Quito by Mexico City, with the government of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blasting the unusual diplomatic incursion and arrest as an “authoritarian” act as well as a breach of international law and Mexico’s sovereignty.

On Saturday, four leftist governments in Latin America – Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba – criticized the arrest of Glas, who had sought refuge in the embassy since December.

He could be seen on video circulating on social media being taken by police convoy to the airport in the capital Quito, flanked by heavily armed soldiers. He then boarded a plane en route to a holding facility in Guayaquil, the Andean nation’s largest city.

Brazil’s government condemned Ecuador’s move as a “clear violation” of international norms prohibiting such a raid on a foreign embassy, in a statement from the country’s foreign ministry.

Ecuador’s move against the embassy “must be subject to strong repudiation, whatever the justification for its implementation,” according to the statement, which stressed Brasilia’s solidarity with Mexico. ‎

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, meanwhile, argued in a post on X that Latin America “must keep alive the precepts of international law in the midst of the barbarism that is advancing in the world.”

Glas, convicted twice for corruption, had been holed up in the embassy in Quito since seeking political asylum in December, a request Mexico granted on Friday.

Ecuadorean authorities had unsuccessfully sought permission from Mexico to enter the embassy and arrest Glas.

In 2017, Glas, the former second-in-command to ex-President Rafael Correa, also a leftist, was sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of taking bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht in exchange for awarding it government contracts.

As he faced a fresh arrest warrant on separate graft charges, Glas has claimed he is the victim of political persecution, a charge Ecuador’s government has denied.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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