Members of the opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio have called for Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero to provide explanations after former Ecuadorian minister María de los Ángeles Duarte fled from the Argentine embassy in Quito.
“[María de los Ángeles Duarte] was investigated, tried, and sentenced by the highest courts in the country. We are facing an extremely grave situation and the Argentine foreign minister must give explanations,” said Ricardo Buryaile, deputy for the province of Formosa. He spearheaded the press release demanding that Cafiero give explanations to Congress.
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 — Ecuador considers her a fugitive.
Duarte’s escape has sparked diplomatic tensions, with Argentina and Ecuador recalling their respective ambassadors — bilateral ties have not been broken, however. She has claimed that she is being politically persecuted and denies the charges against her.
“The sitting administration gave her diplomatic asylum in December last year before allowing her into our headquarters as a ‘guest for humanitarian reasons,’” said Buryaile. “The conventions that regulate diplomatic asylum exclude the possibility of granting asylum to people condemned for common crimes.”
-with information from Télam