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Venezuela EU sanctions are proof of Brussels's ‘subordination’ to Washington, says Venezuelan foreign minister

VENEZUELAN Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the European Union’s “shameful” sanctioning of seven top officials yesterday, saying it was proof of Brussels’s “subordination” to Washington. 

Mr Arreaza said Venezuela rejected the measures imposed “in an illegal and unilateral manner,” which “violate the fundamental precepts of the UN Charter and are intended to exercise a gross interference in the internal affairs of our country.”

He argued that the sanctions indicated an “erratic and interventionist policy towards our country” which recalled the “colonialist manoeuvres of ancient empires, expelled from our America 200 years ago by the courage and freedom-loving will of our peoples.”

The foreign minister said the “obsessive conduct towards Venzuela” was turning the EU into “an instrument at the service of the imperialist intentions of the US government.”

Unelected EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini’s office had announced the sanctions earlier yesterday, claiming the seven Venezuelan officials were “involved in the non-respect of democratic principles or the rule of law as well as in the violation of human rights.”

The targeted individuals include Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, Attorney-General Tarek William Saab, Supreme Justice Tribunal chair Maikel Moreno and National Electoral Council (CNE) president Tibisay Lucena.

Also named were former Bolivarian National Guard commander Antonio Benavides, National Intelligence Service director Gustavo Gonzalez and ruling United Socialist Party chair Diosdado Cabello.

All will have alleged assets in the EU frozen and will be banned from travelling there.

Mr Cabello called on President Nicolas Maduro to retaliate immediately, especially against the “governments most servile to imperialism, like the government of Spain.”

He said the sanctions aimed to “neutralise, isolate Venezuela,” recalling that EU nations “were the partners of the US in the invasion of Iraq — a million deaths!”

Leaders of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mud) coalition lobbied the European Parliament and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year following four months of violent riots that left 124 dead but failed to topple the government.

Since then, the Mud has returned to internationally mediated peace talks in the Dominican Republic ― although the latest round broke down earlier this month over the opposition’s demand for the appointment of a new CNE before this year’s presidential election.

Mr Cabello branded the sanctions “A shot straight to the heart of dialogue,” adding: “The ineptitude of the leaders of the Venezuelan right is very clear, that they are incapable and have to go before the world to beg for help.”

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