EU sanctions Venezuela officials over “neither free nor fair” elections

BRUSSELS – After Venezuela’s May elections, the European Union has sanctioned 11 officials because the elections process represented a violation of democracy. Thus, the eyes of certain international actors continue to focus on Venezuela.

The elections in May in Venezuela raised concern within the European Union. Due to the breakdown of Venezuela’s democracy, certain actors have paid more attention to the development of official processes. This time, 11 functionaries were restricted to travel to the EU, and their assets in Europe were frozen. The measure illustrates the EU’s concern about Venezuela’s situation.

Among the sanctioned is vice-president Delcy Rodriguez, who was Venezuela’s foreign minister and head of the National Constituent Assembly. Rodriguez’s predecessor Tarek El Aissami has also been sanctioned, as have education minister Elias Jaua, vice-president of the National Electoral Council Sandra Oblitas, internal affairs minister Nestor Reverol, and several military commanders. The total number of sanctioned functionaries now stands at 18. Previously, the EU imposed sanctions on seven high-ranking functionaries.

Human right violations during the elections

According to the BBC, the EU published a statement saying that “the electoral process did not ensure the necessary guarantees for Venezuelans to be inclusive and democratic.” In addition to the violation of democracy, the government has also been accused of human rights violations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, expressed his concern about arbitrary killings by agents of the state. His statement referred to the 2017 anti-government protests, in which more than 160 people were killed.  

´Subordination of the EU to Donald Trump´

In response to the EU’s measure, Venezuela’s foreign ministry said: “Today the European Union shows again irrefutable evidence of its subordination to Donald Trump.” Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Constituent Assembly expressed his annoyance: “I have talked to the president. There are diplomatic actions that can be taken in response. One of those actions can be the expulsion of foreign functionaries from Venezuela. They don’t want to get along with us, so we don’t want to get along with them either.” Cabello is also on the sanctions list.

Further individuals the EU targeted are general prosecutor Tarek Saab, president of National Electoral Council Tibisay Lucena, and president of the National Court of Justice Maikel Moreno. Saab and Moreno qualified the measures as “attack” on Venezuelan institutions.

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