Press TV, London
The relationship between Europe and Venezuela’s government, headed by President Nicolas Maduro, further soured on Monday, resulting in the EU’s top diplomat to the country, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, being given 72 hours to pack her bags and leave Caracas.
The latest deterioration in relations comes after Brussels added 11 high-ranking Venezuelan officials to the sanctions list, accusing them of “undermining democracy and the rule of law” and of acting against the National Assembly, which is no longer headed by the Western-backed Juan Guaido.
Those on the new list include Luis Parra, the new National Assembly leader, alongside Franklyn Duarte and Jose Gregorio Noriega — the vice-presidents of the assembly.
Maduro accused the EU, which has endorsed Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, of recognizing “a puppet as president.”
European leaders said they would “continue working to foster a peaceful democratic solution in Venezuela, through inclusive and credible legislative elections,” but the latest move is largely seen as punishment for the National Assembly for daring to forge a political path out of step with Western wishes.
The EU’s decision brings to 36 the total number of Venezuelan individuals under sanctions, which includes a travel ban and a freeze on assets. Maduro has not ruled out further diplomatic action, with the expulsion of other European envoys still on the table.
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