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Maduro to EU: Venezuela not your backyard; stop your meddling

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 12, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has warned the European Union to stay out of Caracas’ internal affairs, stressing that the Latin American country is not the bloc’s backyard.

Maduro made the remarks during a meeting with the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on Tuesday, after the EU’s European Council condemned a decision by the Supreme Court of Venezuela to reshuffle the composition of the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) earlier in the day.

“[…] I have made a statement to the EU: worry about the coronavirus, racism in the EU, and the economic crisis. Don't mess with Venezuela anymore. [Stay] away from Venezuela, European Union, enough of your colonialist point of view!”, Maduro said.

The European Council claimed in a statement early Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s decision to expel opposition parties from the CNE would “reduce the democratic space in the country to a minimum,” adding that it would “create additional obstacles to the resolution of the profound political crisis in Venezuela.”

It further urged the Venezuelan government and the country’s opposition “to engage in meaningful and inclusive negotiations towards the constitution of the CNE and the lifting of bans on opposition parties.”

“All national actors should go back to the negotiating table, in the interest of all Venezuelans, at a time when a complex humanitarian situation adds to the political crisis,” the council said.

“Venezuela is not a backyard… Let the EU go away; I will not say where because this is children’s time [for TV broadcasting], go to hell, to put it mildly,” an angry Maduro responded.

Venezuela's Supreme Court decided to suspend the leadership of the center-right Justice First after the party announced that it would boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court "has decreed the suspension of the current national leadership of the political organization Justice First," the court said in a statement on Tuesday.

The court’s decision followed a similar move against the Democratic Action party, which also announced it would not participate in the elections.  

Both opposition parties, along with nine others, announced their withdrawal after the court named an electoral authority to oversee the legislative polls scheduled for this year.

They claimed that conditions were not in place to hold transparent elections.

The Supreme Court has appointed lawmaker Jose Brito, a rival of opposition leader Juan Guaido, as the electoral authority.

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s National Assembly, led by Guiado, voted to reject the new electoral authority.

The International Contact Group, which includes European and Latin American countries, has also expressed regret over the fact that the new National Electoral Council was named "without the participation of the National Assembly."

Venezuela has been in political turmoil since January last year, when Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president.”

Guaido, propped up by the US, later launched an abortive coup with the backing of Washington and a number of rogue soldiers.

Washington has imposed several rounds of crippling sanctions against the oil-rich South American country aimed at ousting Maduro and replacing him with Guaido.

The economic blockade has caused enormous suffering for millions of people in Venezuela.

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