The Mexican Embassy Raid in Ecuador Will Backfire for Noboa

The Mexican Embassy Raid in Ecuador Will Backfire for Noboa
Ecuadorian police break into the Mexican Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, April 5, 2024 (AP photo by David Bustillos).

Six members of the campaign team of Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado are currently sheltering at the Argentine Embassy in Caracas, their only “crime” having been to work toward a democratic election in a country governed by an autocratic regime. Argentina has granted them asylum and is currently arranging to provide them safe passage outside the country. The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro reportedly cut off power to the Argentine Embassy at one point in an attempt to pressure the staff to hand over the dissidents, but now Maduro appears on track to allow them to leave Venezuela.

It’s an unfortunate situation. Those activists should not be facing arrest in the first place, and they should be allowed to continue working to restore democracy to Venezuela, rather than being forced to flee the country. But given the extent of political repression under the Maduro regime, the fact they may be able to leave safely is good news for them and their families. That all of this takes place despite the recent tensions between Maduro and Argentine President Javier Milei, which I wrote about last week, is also cause for reassurance about the political maturity of both sides.

This scenario demonstrates one of many reasons why the rights guaranteed by the Vienna Convention and the Convention on Diplomatic Asylum are so important. Under those international accords, embassies are inviolable and diplomats are accorded immunity, in order to ensure that countries can work together to resolve differences peacefully. Foreign embassies can also be a safe haven for those who would otherwise be unjustly imprisoned, tortured or killed by their own government.

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