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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Monday expelled The European Union (EU) ambassador to the country, Portugal’s Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, hours after the EU sanctioned 11 officials from Caracas.
“Who are they to sanction, to try to impose themselves with the threat? Who are they? Just! That is why I decided to give the EU ambassador in Caracas 72 hours to leave our country and demand respect from the EU,” Nicolás Maduro said during a televised address.
Maduro began by explaining that the EU released a resolution “in which the EU supremacist sanctions those Venezuelans who, forming part of state institutions, defend the Constitution.”
“They sanctioned the board of the direction of the ‘opposing’ National Assembly because it refused to comply with orders from the EU embassy in Caracas. They sanctioned a group of generals, a group of constituents (members of the Constituent Assembly, composed solely of supporters of the regime),” he said.
Then the head of state questioned “why”, to answer: “Enough is enough of European colonialism against Venezuela, of persecution against Venezuela.”
“Seventy-two hours for the Ambassador of the European Union to leave the country. Enough of colonialist interventionism, ‘supremacism’ and racism! That’s enough!” he emphasized.
The EU today sanctioned 11 officials from the government of President Nicolás Maduro and several Venezuelan public authorities.
The sanctioned are accused of “acting against the democratic functioning of the National Assembly (parliament) and violating the parliamentary immunity” of deputies, including the opposition leader and president of that body, Juan Guaidó.
Representatives Luis Parra, Franklyn Duarte and José Gregório Noriega were sanctioned.
Also on the list are prosecutors Farik Mora and Dinorah Bustamante, the director of the National Telecommunications Commission, Jorge Márquez, the Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice Juan José Mendoza, the auditor of public expenditures Elvis Amoroso, the members of the Constituent Assembly Tânia Díaz and Cladys Requena, and the Secretary General of the Defense Council of the Nation, José Adelino Ornelas Ferreira.
Those sanctioned are prohibited from entering Europe and their assets are frozen.
The EU considered the vote that led to the election of Luis Parra as president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, where opposition to Maduro is majority, illegal.
“The alleged election of Luis Parra was not legitimate because it did not respect legal procedures and democratic constitutional principles,” the EU said.
“The latest developments have further exacerbated the continuing institutional and political crisis in Venezuela and reduced the democratic and constitutional space in the country,” the EU added, as cited by AFP news agency.
Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa has served as ambassador of the European Union to Venezuela since February 2018.
The ambassador’s letters of accreditation were delivered at a ceremony at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, broadcast on Venezuelan state television.
While Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa was welcomed by President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan state television highlighted the signing of several cooperation agreements between Portugal and Venezuela, during 11 meetings of the joint bilateral monitoring committee, particularly in the oil area.
Between 2008 and 2011, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa served as Consul General of Portugal in Caracas, a period that coincided with the strong political and economic impulse of bilateral relations, promoted by the president and leader of the Bolivarian revolution, Hugo Chávez (1954-2013), and Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates.
Venezuela has, since January, had two partially recognized parliaments (National Assembly), one with an opposing majority, led by Juan Guaidó, and a pro-regime, led by Luis Parra.
The political, economic and social crisis in Venezuela has worsened since January 2019, when Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself the country’s interim president, until he removed Nicolás Maduro from power, called for a transitional government and free elections. Guaidó has the support of almost 60 countries.