Ecuador and Venezuela are Heading Towards a Diplomatic Crisis
Lenin Moreno appears to be turning on Ecuador's former ally Venezuela, as the economic and political crisis there grows increasingly dire.
“An unprecedented diplomatic crisis is looming between Ecuador and Venezuela” after more than 10 years of Ecuadorian support for Chavismo, suggests Kenneth Ramirez, president of the Venezuelan Council of International Relations and professor at the School of International Studies of the University Central of Venezuela, in an interview with the PanAm Post.
The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, is about to change his foreign policy in relation to Venezuela after warning Nicolas Maduro “not to provoke him.”
After more than ten years in which Ecuador has supported Chavismo in Venezuela, it seems that the situation between the two countries has reached a new low, and is becoming increasingly tense, as recently Nicolás Maduro made statements which Moreno himself deemed to be a violation of the principle of diplomatic “non-interference.”
Ramirez explained to the PanAm Post that Moreno has pursued his own political agenda and has clearly “not been the puppet of Rafael Correa,” and Moreno has indicated that he will forcefully protest against any possible interference on the part of Venezuela.
“Faced with the Maduro’s full frontal attack on the Ecuadorian justice system, Moreno has decided to respond forcefully. I believe that Ecuadorian foreign policy has had a gradual repositioning resulting from a more difficult regional environment and, above all, in the face of Maduro’s recent attack,” stated Ramirez.
“As long as Nicols Maduro continues in this line of defending Rafael Correa, evidently what we can expect is that Ecuador’s criticisms and positions change in proportionate response. The relations between Ecuador and Venezuela are at their worst…there could be a diplomatic crisis, unprecedented in the last decade, between the two countries,” he added.
And the new Ecuadorian leader has been clear and emphatic when referring to Maduro: “don’t provoke us, because we also have other options at our disposal.”
“We are a country of peace, we are a tolerant country, we are acting reactively with respect to international issues, out of respect and tolerance, but tolerance has a limit and, please, do not exceed it,” said the Ecuadorian president.
Moreno served as vice president under Rafael Correa for six years, and the Moreno-Correa rupture has taken the region by surprise.
Moreno’s recent statements come after Maduro called for the “cessation of persecution” against former President Rafael Correa, who is the subject of a criminal prosecution involving the kidnapping of a former Ecuadorian legislator on Colombian soil.
Lenin Moreno: The “missing link” in pressuring Maduro
Given the diplomatic tension between the two countries, Mariano De Alba, a specialist in international law, emphasized the importance of Ecuador beginning to take a stand against the Maduro regime.
“I think the decisions and positions taken by the Ecuadorian government are positive. Their full participation in the international effort to seek solutions to the crisis in Venezuela would be very important,” she said.
The expert also explained that “because of its ideological position, the Moreno government can strengthen the sanctions and measures taken by other countries.”
She added that the Ecuadorian president could help build bridges with some leftist figures who traditionally have allied with Venezuela and are willing to help find a way out of the crisis.
“Ecuador could help to influence the governments of Bolivia, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, the future administration in Mexico, as well as in several Caribbean countries,” she said.
More indications of an imminent rupture
It seems that Moreno is getting fed up with Maduro, because recently he also referred to Venezuela as a “bizarre democracy.”
He acknowledged that the Maduro regime prevents the participation of the opposition “with limited possibility of international observation.” He added that is not within what we consider to be normal in a democracy.
This is not the first sign that Ecuador is beginning to turn in favor of the struggle against the dictatorship in Venezuela, and although it has taken a while, the rupture between Maduro and Moreno seems imminent.
Last Thursday, July 5, the Ecuadorian Parliament voted to approve a debate on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Most of the legislators voted in support of asking the executive to address and examine the urgent crisis in Venezuela.
In addition, the United States Government has very publicly raised the flag of struggle against the dictatorship in Venezuela, and has also begun to pressure Ecuador to “do more” in relation to the Maduro regime.
Following a meeting between US Vice President Mike Pence and Moreno, the world has seen a slight changes from Ecuador with regard to the Venezuelan regime.
Following Venezuela’s May presidential elections, which were widely condemned as fraudulent, Moreno expressed his concern for the situation in that country for the first time and rejected “emphatically” the deaths that occurred in the protests against the Maduro regime.
During the General Assembly of the OAS, which took place on June 6, Moreno decided to abstain and not vote in favor of the Maduro regime, in a historic discussion where Venezuela’s dictatorship and its violations of human rights were repudiated.