Ecuador withdraws ambassador in Peru over supermarket brawl

Reuters News
Posted: May 07, 2013 12:51 AM

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador removed its ambassador in Peru from his post on Monday over his involvement in a supermarket brawl in Lima, an incident that threatened to sour relations between the neighboring countries.

Two Peruvian women alleged that the ambassador, Rodrigo Riofrio, hit them and insulted them with racist slurs after an argument in a checkout line on April 21 which was recorded by the store's security cameras and shown on Peruvian television.

"The national government announces that Ecuador's ambassador in Peru, Rodrigo Riofrio, has been removed from his post. This decision was taken following a request by ambassador Riofrio," Ecuador's foreign office said in a statement.

"With this decision, Ecuador reiterates its willingness to continue working intensively toward the strengthening of the excellent bilateral relations."

Ecuador has argued that Riofrio acted in self-defense, and initially rejected Peru's request to remove him from his post.

In the supermarket security videotape shown on Peruvian television, Riofrio is seen swatting a woman with a magazine after she hits him. Several women are then seen slapping him and pulling his hair.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)