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Venezuela expels EU ambassador after fresh sanctions on state officials

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro’s government has expelled the European Union’s ambassador after the neoliberal economic bloc imposed a fresh wave of sanctions against state officials for “undermining democracy and the rule of law.”

The measures announced on Monday target 11 Venezuelan officials, the EU citing concerns over actions taken against Washington-backed opposition usurper Juan Guaido.

The former president of Venezuela’s national assembly has launched a series of failed armed uprisings, including a recent foiled bid launched from neighbouring Colombia.

The EU has been accused of hypocrisy over its refusal to speak out against opposition violence, including plans to assassinate Mr Maduro and oust the democratically elected Bolivarian government.

Speaking at an award ceremony, Mr Maduro said he had had enough of “European colonialism,” explaining that he had given the EU ambassador in Caracas, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country.

“Prepare yourselves, colonialist, supremacist and racist gentlemen, because in Venezuela there are going to be free and transparent parliamentary elections with the participation of thousands of candidates,” he said.

Mr Maduro said that Mr Guaido and his supporters “do not represent even a particle of what is the democratic diversity of a country that wants a future,” warning of consistent violations of democracy and the Venezuelan constitution.

"Every day, the American empire and the remnants of the former European empire hit us, but here we are fresh and victorious. They have not been able to and will not be able to deal with us,” he said.

Restrictive measures by the EU on Venezuela were introduced in November 2017, with the bloc insisting that they were not designed to hurt the Venezuelan people.

But Caracas has also faced a crippling embargo from the United States and is currently involved in a court case with the Bank of England over the return of Venezuelan gold stored in its vaults.

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