Venezuela: add government and military chiefs to EU sanctions list, urge MEPs
- EU sanctions should be extended to President Maduro and military leaders, say MEPs
- EU warns it will recognise elections only if voting rules are first agreed with the opposition
- Venezuelan government urged to allow in humanitarian aid
The EU should add Venezuela’s President, his deputy and military chiefs to the EU sanctions list and recognise its elections only if free and fair, said MEPs on Thursday.
MEPs call for EU sanctions to be "extended against those mainly responsible for the increased political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis, namely the President, the Vice-President, the Minister of Defence, members of the high military command, and members of their inner circles", in a resolution approved by 480 votes to 51 with 70 abstentions.
The European Parliament strongly condemns Venezuela’s decision to expel and declare Spain’s Ambassador to Caracas "persona non grata". As all EU foreign policy decisions including imposing sanctions, must be unanimous, MEPs call for full solidarity with Spain.
EU to recognise elections only if rules are agreed in national dialogue
"Only elections based on a viable electoral calendar, agreed in the context of the national dialogue with all relevant actors and political parties, and respecting equal, fair and transparent conditions of participation (...) will be recognised by the EU", MEPs insist. They add that they are ready to send an Electoral Observation Mission if all the necessary conditions are met.
MEPs deplore the unilateral decision by Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, which is recognised neither internationally nor by the EU, to call early presidential elections by the end of April 2018. They point out that the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s recent ruling excludes MUD opposition party representatives from the upcoming elections and that many potential candidates will be unable to run for election because they are exiled, subject to administrative disqualifications, imprisoned or under house arrest.
The European Parliament calls on the Venezuelan authorities to allow unimpeded humanitarian aid into the country as a matter of urgency, as worsening child malnutrition and food and medicine shortages are resulting in many hundreds of deaths.
In April 2017, MEPs urged Venezuela’s government to ensure the full restoration of the democratic order and immediately release all political prisoners.
MEPs condemned the 30 July 2017 elections to Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly as being in breach of the separation of powers and called in September 2017 for EU sanctions against all those involved in the serious violations of human rights in Venezuela.
The Council of the EU decided in November 2017 to impose an arms embargo on Venezuela. In January 2018, it also decided, unanimously, to impose sanctions, such as travel bans and asset freezes, against seven Venezuelan individuals, in response to non-compliance with democratic principles, the rule of law and democracy.