Ecuador and Venezuela have expelled each others’ ranking diplomats, sparking the latest international spat between the Maduro regime and a once-strong ally.

Early today, Ecuador announced that it had expelled the Venezuelan ambassador in Quito following a vitriolic rant by Venezuelan Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez that aired on Venezuelan television last night.

During a televised address, Rodriguez called Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno “a liar”, and said that he was lying about the number of Venezuelan migrants in his country. Rodriguez was specially upset about Moreno’s intervention at the United Nations General Assembly last month, saying that he “could not believe [Moreno] could lie so much”

In his speech at the United Nations, Moreno referred to Venezuela as a country headed by an authoritarian and corrupt government

A notice posted on the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ page partially reads:

The Republic of Ecuador will not tolerate any show of disrespect to our authorities. However, Ecuador, true to the democratic and humanitarian principles, will continue to lend assistance to Venezuelans who enter the country, [and] contribute via a significant economic and social effort to protect their human rights. 

Venezuela reciprocated the expulsion by announcing that it was kicking the Ecuadorian charge d’affaires in Caracas late this afternoon. Caracas announced the move in the following way:

The Bolivarian government of Venezuela can do nothing else but reject the systemic intervention in its affairs by President Lenin Moreno….

Ecuador was once one of Venezuela’s staunchest allies, particularly during the presidency of Rafael Correa, which lasted from 2007-2017.

Maduro Asks Venezuelans to Spend Savings in Gold, Petros

During a televised address tonight, Maduro urged Venezuelans to spend their Christmas bonuses on gold and Petros, the regime’s in-house cryptocurrency. 

In Venezuela, it is common to receive a Christmas bonus from your employer.

After explaining that the bonuses would being to be paid out in the coming weeks, Maduro said:

I’m calling on workers to invest part of their bonuses in gold. Come here, legally [sic]. You will receive a legal certificate. Invest [the bonus] on the Petro to strengthen the family economy, so you can think and guarantee the future. 

The Petro has been universally decried by economists and cryptocurrency experts as little more than a thinly-masked attempt to circumvent financial sanctions against Venezuelan bonds and regime officials. The Washington Post called it “one of the worst investments ever”

Maduro’s request is tone-deaf, even by his own standards. 

Just today, the Centro de Documentación y Análisis Social dela Federación Venezolana de Maestros (CENDAS) released its monthly update on the price of the basic family basket, a unit of measure that calculates the cost of running a household.

According to CENDAS, the price of the basic family basket rose to BsS. 44,069.02, which means that a Venezuelan household needs to earn 24.5 times the minimum monthly salary to meet its most basic needs. 

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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