Ecuador has broken formal relations with Venezuela after that country’s communication minister called President Lenin Moreno a “liar.” On Thursday, Ecuador expelled Venezuela’s ambassador.
The action followed comments by Jorge Rodríguez, Venezuela’s communication minister, who said that Moreno’s claim that 6,000 Venezuelans a day were entering Ecuador was false. Moreno Tweeted the number in August, at the height of the influx of Venezuelan refugees into Ecuador.
“He said that 6,000 sick Venezuelans were arriving in Ecuador each day and that one million had already arrived, a figure that would only be possible only if 140 buses left every day from Venezuela during the last seven years,” Rodríguez said at a Wednesday news conference. “I cannot believe that he can be such a liar.”
In its official statement on the break in relations, Ecuador’s foreign affairs ministry said, “The Republic of Ecuador will not tolerate such disrespect for its authorities.” The statement continued: “Faithful to its democratic and humanitarian principles, Ecuador will continue to provide assistance to Venezuelan citizens entering the country, assisting through economic and social efforts to protect their human rights.”
Ecuador secretary of communication was more direct in his response to Rodriguez. “His statements show that this corrupt socialism, murderer and liar of the 21st century, still lives in Venezuela.”
The foreign ministry said that Moreno’s claim of 6,000 Venezuelans a day entering Ecuador was confirmed by immigration officials.
In response to the expulsion of its ambassador, Venezuela ordered Ecuador’s chargé d’affaires to leave Caracas.