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Mexico-Ecuador crisis, first presidential debate, PEMEX reduces crude oil exports

Lauren TerMaat

Mexico and Ecuador break diplomatic dies over embassy attack; Mexico calls for Ecuador to be removed from the UN over embassy attack; first televised presidential debate before 2024 elections; PEMEX to cut crude oil exports by 35% in May. (Week of 04/07/2024 - 04/13/2024)

Week of 04/07/2024 - 04/13/2024

Mexico and Ecuador break diplomatic ties over embassy attack

Over the weekend (04/06-04/07), Mexico and Ecuador broke diplomatic ties with each other following an attack on Mexico’s Embassy in Quito by the Ecuadorian military on Saturday morning (04/06). 

In the early hours of the morning, members of Ecuador’s Special Forces entered the Mexican Embassy by force and arrested Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s former Vice President who is facing charges of corruption and had been taking refuge in the Mexican Embassy since December 2023. Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa insists that Mexico was improperly using the embassy to harbor Glas, who is facing criminal charges, but Mexico maintains that international law was violated. More than twenty countries have denounced the invasion of the embassy, including the United States

Tensions between Mexico and Ecuador had been rising before the embassy attack, as Ecuador named Mexico’s ambassador a “persona non grata” last week and ordered her to leave the country. Just moments after the attack, President López Obrador announced via X that diplomatic relations between the two countries have been broken. 

Mexico calls for Ecuador to be removed from the UN over embassy attack

On Thursday (04/11), Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena announced that Mexico had submitted a petition to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to remove Ecuador from the United Nations until a formal public apology is given for Ecuador’s invasion of the Mexican Embassy in Quito on Saturday (04/06). 

Notably, Ecuador has already been suspended from the UN for not paying the required quotas needed for membership and voting, and the country reportedly owes the UN $1.91 million in fees. However, Mexico’s petition also requests a reparation of damages caused during the attack, as well as a request to set a precedent that any country that “acts like Ecuador has” (i.e. invades an embassy) must be immediately suspended from the UN. 

Foreign Minister Bárcena noted that the attack also has economic consequences – according to Bárcena, the two countries had been in negotiations on a free trade agreement, but these talks have since been suspended. 

First presidential debate

The first televised public debate between the three leading presidential candidates took place on Sunday (04/07), but the discussion of proposed policies was overshadowed by technical difficulties, specifically with the clocks used to time the speaking time of the candidates. Nevertheless, the National Electoral Institute (INE), the organization that organizes the debates, assured that the technical issues did not have a significant impact on the debate overall. 

Claudia SheinbaumXóchitl Gálvez, and Jorge Álvarez Máynez outlined their campaign proposals and plans if elected, especially in regards to education, health, corruption and transparency, discrimination, and violence against women. Sheinbaum, of MORENA, highlighted her experience and accomplishments as Mayor of Mexico City, and Gálvez emphasized her indigenous roots and how her plans would be a reversal of President López Obrador’s administration. However, many personal attacks were launched between the two leading candidates, with Sheinbaum calling Gálvez inexperienced and a liar, while Gálvez painted Sheinbaum as “cold-hearted.” 

To learn more about the key takeaways from the first presidential debate, take a look at the highlights from our recent webinar

PEMEX to cut crude oil exports by 35% in May

Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company, announced on Monday (04/08) that it would reduce exports of crude oil to markets in the United States, Europe, and Asia by 35%, equivalent to at least 330,000 barrels per day, in the month of May 2024. 

Following February’s record of the lowest levels of crude oil production in 45 years, PEMEX is looking to supply more to domestic markets in Mexico in an effort to reach energy self-sufficiency, thus causing the decrease in exports of crude oil. 

An explosion at an oil rig on Saturday (04/06) also is causing problems for PEMEX – one employee was killed and two have been left seriously wounded, with various others left injured. This explosion has decreased production by around 20,000 barrels per day. 

About the Author

Lauren TerMaat

Lauren TerMaat

Staff Assistant Intern, Mexico Institute
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more