Venezuela announced Wednesday February 24 the expulsion of the ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Caracas in response to a new round of sanctions. The EU immediately called on the Venezuelan government to ” reconsider “.
“Today, on the decision of President Nicolas Maduro, we personally delivered to Mrs. Isabel Brilhante (…) a declaration of persona non grata “Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters after a meeting with the Portuguese diplomat. “He was given 72 hours to leave Venezuelan territory”, he added, denouncing European sanctions “Illegal”.
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The European Union immediately called on the Venezuelan authorities to “To reconsider this decision which will accentuate the isolation of Venezuela”, said a spokeswoman for the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. “Venezuela will only overcome the current crisis through negotiation and dialogue. The EU is ready to facilitate this, but such a decision will not help ”, underlined this spokesperson, Nabila Massrali, from Brussels.
55 senior Venezuelan officials sanctioned
On Monday, February 22, the EU sanctioned 19 Venezuelan officials and senior officials for their role in acts and decisions which it said undermine democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela. The decision brings the total number of officials and senior government officials sanctioned by the EU to 55, with travel bans and asset freezes on its territory.
Silent so far, President Nicolas Maduro spoke on February 24 during a speech on state television. “We didn’t want to do it, we do it against our will because we would like to have the best possible relations with Europe. But we cannot accept that someone comes to attack Venezuela, to sanction Venezuela ”, he said. “Either you correct the situation, or there will never be an agreement of any kind, no more dialogue with these gentlemen of the European Union, so that you understand that Venezuela is worthy”, he warned.
Ambassador already threatened with deportation in 2020
Already on June 29, 2020, after a previous round of European sanctions, Nicolas Maduro had already declared persona non grata Isabel Brilhante and had given him 72 hours to leave the country. However, when the deadline expired, the government backed down, while asking the EU ” gestures “ in exchange.
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Venezuela, shaken by a deep political crisis and facing the worst economic crisis in its recent history, in 2017 became the first Latin American country to be sanctioned by the EU. For three years, the United States has also increased diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions, including an oil embargo since 2019, to oust Nicolas Maduro from power. Without success.