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    Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza

    Venezuelan FM Slams Ecuador's Exit From Union of South American Nations

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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza slammed on Thursday Ecuador's decision to leave the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) as treason.

    "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.

    READ MORE: Caracas Accuses Ecuador of Xenophobia Amid Crackdown on Venezuelan Migrants

    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.

    Last year, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay said they were suspending their membership in UNASUR due to disagreements about the candidacy of the secretary general and the bloc's stance on Venezuela. After it, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela remained the active members of the alliance.

    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.

    READ MORE:  Venezuela to Kick Off Second Stage of Large-Scale Military Drills This Weekend

    On 23 January, two days after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president." Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, qualified Guaido's move as an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

    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.

    READ MORE: ‘Credibility of US Imperial Blackmail’ Hangs on Success of Venezuela Policy

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (511)

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    withdrawal, criticism, UNASUR, Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela
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