Venezuela Slams EU Meddling After Sanctions on Gov't Officials

In a statement published Monday, Venezuela's foreign ministry condemned the EU for its 'blatant subordination' to the U.S.

Venezuela issued a statement Monday rejecting the European Union’s announcement of sanctions against 11 high-ranking officials in protest of President Nicolas Maduro’s reelection in the May elections, which were boycotted by some sectors of the Venezuelan opposition such as the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD.

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“The EU undermines political peace in Venezuela by meddling in its internal affairs and endeavoring to apply coercive measures against tranquility and dialogue between Venezuelans,” the statement by Venezuela’s foreign ministry reads.

The EU sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes against people close to President Maduro.

Venezuela’s foreign ministry also criticized the EU saying “it is surprising the blatant subordination of the EU to the Trump Administration, emulating its actions of aggression against Venezuela, designed by the most extremist and warlike sectors of that government.”

According to the EU the May 20 elections in Venezuela, which were accompanied by over 100 international observers, were not free or fair. The main argument behind that assertion is that two popular opposition leaders and some political parties were unable to compete.

Leopoldo Lopez couldn’t run because he was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison for inciting to violence during the deadly 2014 protests. The other one is Henrique Capriles, who was sanctioned in 2017 by Venezuelan ombudsman Manuel Galindo over corruption charges when he was governor of the state of Merida.

Electoral restrictions did not amount to an inability to present a unified opposition candidate to reach what they have called an “electoral solution.”  

Henry Ramos Allup, former president of the suspended National Assembly, offered his Democratic Action party to present a “united Venezuela” ticket in late January. Ramos Allup’s party was able to participate because it had successfully completed the revalidation process.

Nicolas Maduro obtained 5.8 million votes in the May 20 elections, that is four million more than main opposition candidate Henri Falcon, who decided not to heed calls for an electoral boycott.

“The Bolivarian government reiterates to the EU that Venezuela will not accept threats from any world power or group of countries coalesced with imperial reminiscences,” the statement concluded.

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Venezuela's Arreaza Condemns 'US Interventionism' in UN Speech

Arreaza said Simon Bolivar was right in 1829, when he said the U.S. wanted to "spread misery in the Americas in the name of freedom.”

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the interventionist actions of the United States and its European allies in his country's internal affairs Monday during his speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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“For nearly two decades we've been harassed by interventionist foreign powers, eager to regain control of our oil, gas, gold, diamond, coltan, water and fertile lands,” said Arreaza before quoting Simon Bolivar when he said the United States wanted to “spread misery in Americas in the name of freedom.”

Arreaza said U.S. President Donald Trump has been threatening Venezuela all this time and imposed sanctions against the country in an attempt to topple President Nicolas Maduro and his government. “We can't allow this Human Rights Council to be hijacked by those who only want to make war,” the Venezuelan top diplomat told high level officials during the meeting in Switzerland.

Arreaza pointed to U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson's recent comments in which he openly suggested an overthrow of Venezuela's democratic government and said he wouldn't recognize the outcome of the next elections. Those are only some of the 105 international verbal attacks Venezuela has endured this year, the foreign minister added.

Maduro has called more than 400 times for the opposition to take part in a dialogue to bring peace to the country, but they have been unwilling to do so Arreaza stressed. The opposition also didn't agree to participate in the elections on April 22, a date they themselves proposed.

He further condemned the U.S. Government for making the world believe there's a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela with the intention of carrying out an intervention in the South American country, while highlighting recent comments by U.N. independent expert Alfred de Zayas.

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De Zayas said last week there was no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. "Of course there is scarcity, anxiety and shortages but whoever has worked for decades for the United Nations and knows the situation of countries in Asia, Africa and some of America, knows that the situation in Venezuela is not a humanitarian crisis.”

The expert explained that although many think that the country is on the verge of disaster, as media outlets do, "Venezuela suffers an economic war, a financial blockade, suffers a high level of smuggling and, of course, needs international solidarity to solve these problems." 

Arreaza also pointed out that “the Venezuelan people have benefited from social plans such as salary increase and the pension system announced by the president.”

He added that “disabled people have been handed scholarships, unemployment has decreased to six percent, more than six million families have benefited by the Supply and Production Local Committee, and two million homes have been delivered.”

“Venezuela ratifies its commitment with the U.N. in defense of human rights because other countries have abused them and violated them,” Arreaza claimed. “Human rights must be sacred and we can't allow them to be violated, because they're crucial in the defense of our humanity.”

Ahead of his speech at the council the foreign minister held a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister Condemns Unilateral Sanctions by EU

Jorge Arreaza said that the sanctions by the European Union are aimed at attacking the Bolivarian Revolution and its democratic institutions.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Monday condemned the unilateral sanctions of the European Union (EU) and called on the bloc to rectify its interventionist position.

"It is regrettable that the European Union is put to the tail's end of US imperialism, it is regrettable that the European Union has issued a series of restrictive measures against Venezuelan citizens, officials, but also presidents of public powers, that is, against Venezuela and its democratic institutionality democratic," Arreaza said during the II Forum of Cooperation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and China.

RELATED:  Venezuela Rejects 'Interventionist' Sanctions Imposed by EU

Arreaza asserted that the EU violates international law by subordinating its foreign policy "to the imperialist, supremacist and racist US policy"

"Venezuela calls on the EU to reflect and rectify because our independence is sacred, our institutions legitimate," he said.

Arreaza stressed that the EU's arguments to impose sanctions are not to promote dialogue with the opposition, on the contrary "it is about attacking the Bolivarian Revolution, and attacking Venezuelan democratic institutions."

He recalled that the undersecretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, Thomas Shannon, had previously reported that "they instructed the EU with a package of sanctions against Venezuela."

The Venezuelan diplomat said that his country will continue in the process of dialogue with the opposition, as well as progress in all areas of society.

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