Ecuador’s Foreign Minister has ordered Venezuelan Ambassador Carol Delgado to leave the country over ‘offensive statements’ made by the country’s communication minister about Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno.
The Venezuelan minister Jorge Rodríguez on Wednesday accused the Ecuadorean president of inflating the number of refugees arriving across the border from Venezuela. Quito said it “will not tolerate any sign of disrespect to its authorities” when announcing the expulsion of the diplomat. The statement published by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said the country will continue to provide aid to Venezuelan refugees and added that its own chargé d’affaires will be recalled from Caracas for consultations.
Rodríguez called Moreno a liar over his statements that each day 6,000 Venezuelans were arriving in Ecuador, fleeing form the economic crisis in their country. The Venezuelan minister argued it was logistically impossible.
“He is a liar, and dares to lie on the podium of the United Nations because that was what he was ordered to do to boost this hoax,” Rodríguez told a media conference, referring to Moreno’s speech before the UN General Assembly last month.
The Ecuadorean president at the time called the refugee crisis “the largest exodus” in Latin America’s history and called on other nations to respond to it in solidarity with each other.
The Venezuelan official claimed that most of the refugees living in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina were “fed up with hate crimes” they face there and want to return to their home country.
An estimated two million people have left Venezuela since 2015, when the country plunged into economic and political problems, which are aggravated by a mounting burden of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
Ecuador used to be a close ally of Venezuela, with both pursuing a socialist model of development. Moreno, who took office last year, has been distancing Quito from socialism and seeking closer cooperation with Washington and its regional allies.
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