Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro gave 72 hours to the head of the European Union delegation in Caracas, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, to leave Venezuela after the bloc announced sanctions today against 11 Venezuelan officials.
“Who are they to try to impose themselves on the threat? Who are they? Enough! That’s why I decided to give the European Union ambassador 72 hours to leave our country,” said Maduro during an act at the Miraflores presidential palace.
Among those sanctioned is deputy Luis Parra, who is running for president of the opposing majority parliament with Juan Guaidó, with whom he broke up.
As president of the unicameral National Assembly, Guaidó claimed in 2019 the presidency in charge of Venezuela, with the recognition of 50 countries.
“We will understand each other in 72 hours (…) We loan a plane to leave, but we are going to settle our things with the European Union”, added Maduro.
Venezuela maintains a ban on commercial flights, due to the quarantine in force since mid-March by the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
Parra, an opposing legislator accused of corruption linked to a food distribution program under the Maduro government, proclaimed himself president of the unicameral National Assembly last January, in parallel with Guaidó’s reelection.
Sanctions against anti-democratic actions
The sanctions this Monday are mostly for actions against opposition to the Maduro government.
The decision, published in the Official Gazette of the EU, raised to 36 the number of people sanctioned for, according to the bloc, affecting democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Venezuela, a country facing a serious political and economic crisis.
In January, Parra, an opponent accused of corruption linked to a food distribution program from the Maduro government, proclaimed himself head of the unicameral National Assembly, in parallel to Guaidó’s reelection.
The EU rejected in June its ratification as President of Parliament by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), of Chavista line, when considering that “the voting session that led to the ‘election’ of Luis Parra was not legitimate”.
Europeans also banned travel to the bloc and froze the assets of Franklyn Duarte and José Noriega, deputies who faced Guaidó in the controversial vote as first and second vice presidents.
From the leadership of the Congress, Guaidó assumed the interim presidency of Venezuela in January 2019 with the recognition of fifty countries.
Europeans also sanctioned Gladys del Valle Requena and Tania Valentina Díaz González, heads of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), for “depriving” Guaidó of his “parliamentary immunity”.
For actions against Guaidó, the EU imposed the same measures on the country’s general controller, Elvis Amoroso.
The second vice president of the TSJ, Juan José Mendoza, and the promoters of Venezuela’s first special first instance court, Farik Karin Mora and Dinorah Yoselin Bustamante, are also subject to sanctions for measures against the opposition.
The list is completed with General José Ornelas Ferreira, secretary of the National Defense Council, whom the EU accuses of repression, and with Jorge Márquez, director of the National Telecommunications Commission, sanctioned for limiting the right to information.
“The dictatorship has not even fulfilled its farce and the world is already rejecting it,” reacted Guaidó on Twitter, referring to the elections to renew the National Assembly, scheduled for this year, although undated. The main opposition parties announced a boycott, after the TSJ official appointed new electoral authorities, assigning legislative power.
Maduro’s chancellor, Jorge Arreaza, accused the EU in the same social network of “interventionist policy” and guaranteed that Venezuela “reserves a due and vigorous response”.
In 2017, Venezuela became the first Latin American country sanctioned by the EU, which has since also imposed an arms embargo.
The bloc’s 27 countries, whose foreign policy is unanimously decided, are reluctant to push the pressure to the maximum, with sanctions against Maduro, so as not to close diplomatic channels, despite requests from the United States and opponents.