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Forecast podcast: Ecuador’s raid on Mexican embassy sparks diplomatic crisis

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Editors Jimmy Lovaas and Irene Villora discuss the diplomatic crisis between Mexico and Ecuador following the latter’s raid on the Mexican embassy in Quito, plus more on former President Trump’s hush money trial, Croatia’s parliamentary elections, Sudan’s peace talks resuming and the start of voting in India’s general elections.

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These stories and others are also available in our free weekly Forecast newsletter.

These stories and others are also available in our free weekly Forecast newsletter.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Irene Villora, Jeff Landset, Sophie Perryer, Agnese Boffano and Vivian Wang. Produced and edited by Jimmy Lovaas with additional writing by Sophie Perryer. Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note:

Factal Forecast podcast transcript

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.


Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.

Today is April 11.

In this week’s forecast we’ve got a diplomatic crisis between Mexico and Ecuador, former President Trump’s hush money trial, Croatia’s parliamentary elections, Sudan’s peace talks resuming and the start of voting in India’s general elections. 

You can also read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you’ll find a link to in the show notes.

Mexico-Ecuador relations

Information compiled by Irene Villora

JIMMY: Up first, we’ll take a look at the diplomatic crisis between Ecuador and Mexico. For more on that I’ve got the lead for our Latin America desk, Factal Senior Editor Irene Villora. 

JIMMY: Hello, Irene!

IRENE: Hi, Jimmy.

JIMMY: So glad to have you back on the podcast. Hoping you can bring us up to speed on this situation between Ecuador and Mexico. I guess to start, can you explain what started all this?

IRENE: Yeah, of course. Well, the latest escalation of this diplomatic spat was triggered last week because Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador made some comments on the outcome of the presidential elections in Ecuador. He basically suggested that the assassination of left-wing candidate Fernando Villavicencio during a rally last August could have influenced the results of the election and that it could have contributed to President Noboa’s victory. After this, Ecuador decided to declare Mexico’s ambassador in the country persona non grata and in response Mexico decided to grant political asylum to Ecuadorian former Vice President Jorge Glas. Glas had been living in the Mexican embassy in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, since past December, after he received a double court sentence over his connection to the Odebrecht corruption scandal. And what happened next was quite unexpected, the Ecuadorian government decided to send police officers into the Mexican embassy. Authorities stormed the building in the middle of the night and they arrested Glas, the former vice president.

JIMMY: Wow. And what’s the latest? Have there been any new developments?

IRENE: Well after this happened Ecuadorian officials justified the incursion and Glas’s arrest. The foreign minister came out and she said there was a high risk that Glas would try to flee the embassy and she also accused Mexico of trying to intervene in Ecuador’s internal affairs by granting him asylum. She also said that Mexico’s decision to grant this status to Glas was unacceptable since he had received a firm court sentence and therefore this made his political refugee status unacceptable. Mexico then decided to break diplomatic relations with Ecuador and they have done so indefinitely, but also the president has threatened to sue the country before the International Court of Justice for breaking into their embassy.

JIMMY: What sort of reactions have you seen to this situation? 

IRENE: Well there’s been a few different ones, but the most remarkable would be just general consensus among the international community that these acts were quite disproportionate. The UN, the Organisation of American States and heads of states in the region have expressed grave concerns over this position. Many of them are accusing Ecuador of violating the Vienna Convention. Now, the Vienna Convention states that embassies in hosting countries are considered sovereign territory of the country they represent and by sending in armed forces, they consider that Ecuador could be incurring in a violation of this treaty. Nicaragua also announced it would suspend diplomatic ties with Ecuador and the Ecuadorian opposition has also flagged concerns of abuse of power by Noboa’s administration. Some opposition parties are preparing to submit an impeachment request against the defense, foreign and home affairs ministers and they are also demanding Noboa’s resignation.  

JIMMY: Well, I know there’s a lot to consider, but what do you think folks should be watching for next?

IRENE: I think mainly we need to wait and see if a reconciliation between the two countries is possible in the short term. The Ecuadorian foreign minister has said they are willing to sit down with Mexican officials and negotiate the terms of a resumption of diplomatic relations, but we have not seen the same inclinations from Mexico’s side. All consular and embassy services for Mexican nationals living in Ecuador have now been suspended until further notice, so this will affect a couple thousand people who are estimated to be living there. They have been pointed at online services of Mexican embassies in Chile, Colombia and Peru if they want to carry out any procedures related to consular and embassy services. And, as of how this can affect the internal approval rates of the government and of President Noboa, this remains unclear because he was elected under the promise of hardline policies to fight criminality and corruption in the country, and this raid has sent a very strong message to his voters that he is willing to take exceptional measures to honor his campaign promises. So, we’ll have to see if the Ecuadorian society backs him up or not.

JIMMY: Well, Irene, we’ll pause there for now, but thank you so much for getting us caught up. Always appreciate your time and insight into the region. 

IRENE: Thank you.

Former President Trump’s hush money trial in New York

Information compiled by Jeff Landset

JIMMY: Former President Donald Trump will appear in court in New York on Monday to face hush money charges.

It’s the first time ever that a former US president has faced trial on criminal charges.

Trump, who is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2024 presidential election, is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal.

Last year, a New York District Attorney accused Trump of manipulating business expenses to cover up money paid out to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

During the legal process, Trump has verbally abused witnesses, prosecutors and the family of the judge, leading him to be issued with a gag order.

Trump’s legal team has repeatedly tried to push the trial until after the election day in November, but these attempts have all been denied.

It’s likely to be Trump’s only trial before the vote, despite the fact he’s facing three other criminal indictments.

If he’s convicted, he faces jail time, which would fundamentally change the presidential campaign.

It could also lead to protests from his supporters.

Croatia parliamentary elections

Information compiled by Sophie Perryer

JIMMY: Croatia’s President Zoran Milanović is running to become the country’s prime minister in parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

Back in mid-March, Croatian lawmakers unanimously voted to dissolve the country’s parliament and hold elections.

Originally, these weren’t expected to take place until after the European parliamentary elections in June.

However, in a surprise announcement, Milanović scheduled the vote for mid-April and said he would run for the position of prime minister.

It’s a much more powerful role in Croatia’s parliamentary democracy, unlike the presidency which is largely ceremonial.

Milanović said he’d grown frustrated with the current government, which he has accused of corrupt practices for several years.

Croatia’s Constitutional Court said Milanović can’t run for the position of prime minister while he’s still president.

Milanović has denied the ban, saying he’ll still run in the election without resigning as president. He also accused the court of orchestrating a constitutional coup d’etat.

With less than a week to go until the vote, it’s not clear how Milanović’s candidacy is going to play out. Also unclear are any ensuing implications for Croatia’s political landscape.

Possible resumption of Sudan’s peace talks

Information compiled by Agnese Boffano

JIMMY: Peace talks to end the war in Sudan could resume next Thursday, according to the US special envoy for the country.

It’s been almost a year since a war broke out between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF.

The fighting has caused the world’s biggest displacement crisis, with approximately 18 million people facing acute hunger.

Talks first started in January this year, when high-level members of each warring side met in Bahrain.

They were accompanied by officials from Egypt, who supposedly backs the Sudanese army, and the UAE, who support the RSF paramilitary group.

The initial round of negotiations didn’t lead to any progress, but advisors are hopeful breakthroughs could be made after the end of Ramadan.

That said, the two sides haven’t yet agreed on restarting the talks.

India general elections begin

Information compiled by Vivian Wang

JIMMY: India’s colossal general elections begin next Friday.

It’s the largest democratic undertaking in the world, with close to 970 million people eligible to vote. 

Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be facing off against a fractured opposition as he seeks a third term for another five years in office. 

Modi’s time in power has been marked by economic growth and an overall reduction in poverty in India, but critics are concerned by growing Hindu nationalismviolence against minority groups and the erosion of press freedoms and civil liberties.

Now, surveys predict a comfortable win for Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, but it will take 44 days for India’s election commission to coordinate and complete the dizzying amount of logistics needed for such a large election. 

Finally, Indian security forces are on high alert for political unrest and violence, with 340,000 personnel planned to be deployed, especially in the restive regions of West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir.    

JIMMY: As always, thank you for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast and newsletter each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. Please subscribe and review wherever you find your podcasts. We’d love it if you’d consider telling a friend about us.  

Today’s episode was produced with work from Factal editors Jeff Landset, Sophie Perryer, Agnese Boffano and Vivian Wang. Our interview featured editor Irene Villora and our podcast is produced and edited by me – Jimmy Lovaas, with additional writing by Sophie Perryer. Our music comes courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Until next time, if you have any feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing

This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed. 

Copyright © 2024 Factal. All rights reserved.

Music: ‘Factal Theme’ courtesy of Andrew Gospe

Top photo: Embassy of Mexico in Ecuador. (Photo: Embassy of Mexico in Ecuador / Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México)

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