"We cannot have traitors in our ranks or we will lose our motherland", Arreaza wrote on Twitter, citing the statement that Venezuelan late political leader Simon Bolivar made back in 1811.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced earlier in the day the country's intention to withdraw from UNASUR, voicing doubt in the bloc's efficiency. According to Moreno, half of the member states neither participate in UNASUR activities nor make any contribution to it.
UNASUR is a regional organization that became a legal entity back in 2011. It aims at enhancing trust between the regional countries and creating an integration space for the South American people. While it once comprised 12 South American states, most of them have now pulled out.
Venezuela has been facing a deep political crisis in recent weeks. On 5 January, lawmaker Juan Guaido was elected the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other government branches have been refusing to recognize since 2016.
The United States immediately recognized Guaido, after which some 50 other countries followed suit. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and a number of other states have, in the meantime, voiced their support for the legitimate government of constitutionally elected Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have refused to recognize Guaido, declaring themselves neutral and promoting crisis settlement via dialogue.