On October 18 the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry announced the decision to recall its Charge d'Affaires in Caracas for consultation, who was later requested by the Venezuelan government to leave the country. The expulsions came a day after the Venezuelan Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez called Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno a liar and accused him of exaggerating on the number of Venezuelans trying to migrate to Ecuador. The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Jose Valencia, denounced Caracas' intolerance and abuses, including deaths, against protesters and political opponents, calling for the Organization of American States (OEA) to find a democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela, while reaffirming Quito's commitment to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants from its neighboring country. Additional reports suggest that more than 500,000 Venezuelan refugees have entered Ecuador since January 2018.
The accusations by Rodríguez go along Caracas' policy of minimizing the scale of the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, despite numerous reports and claims by other governments and international organizations. The mutual expulsion of diplomats marks a deterioration of ties between Quito and Caracas, and underscores the current isolation of Venezuela. Calls for intervention in the country have been growing, and on September 14 OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro stated he did not rule out "a military intervention to overthrow [Venezuelan President] Nicolas Maduro's regime". US President Donald Trump issued a similar statement in August 2017, and his administration has reportedly met with army dissidents aiming to stage a coup, eventually rejecting to support this specific group. While we assess open foreign intervention in Venezuela is not likely in the short-term, growing calls for such, instigated by its neighbors bearing the cost of large-scale migration, do raise the likelihood for more indirect or covert interference in Venezuela.