Argentine Ambassador to Ecuador Gabriel Fuks has left the country amid a diplomatic furore caused by former Ecuadorian minister María de los Ángeles Duarte fleeing from the Argentine embassy in Quito. Fuks had been declared a “persona non grata” by President Guillermo Lasso’s government and accused of aiding her escape by clearing the area.
Duarte was a minister during former president Rafael Correa’s government and was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption in 2020. She had been living as a guest in the Argentine embassy in Quito since 2020 and was granted diplomatic asylum there in 2022, along with her son, whose father is Argentine.
On Monday, she fled to the Argentine embassy in Caracas, Venezuela — Ecuador considers her a fugitive. She has claimed that she is being politically persecuted and denies the charges against her.
“That man [Ambassador Fuks] was not only an accomplice to Duarte’s escape from the embassy, he has also lied to us from Monday to Wednesday,” said Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Juan Carlos Holguín. “And not on one, but multiple occasions.”
The Argentine government denies Fuks’ involvement in Duarte’s escape and contends that her surveillance was under the Ecuadorian security force’s jurisdiction. They also accuse President Lasso of “hyperpoliticizing” Duarte’s escape due to his “electoral weakness” — he has recently faced mass demonstrations, a low approval rating and a string of political defeats.
Both countries expelled their ambassadors as a result of the diplomatic row, although bilateral ties have not been cut.
Fuks is currently in Bogotá, Colombia, and is expected to arrive in Argentina on Sunday.
-with information from Télam