The European Union did not rule out imposing new measures against the Nicolás Maduro regime after the expulsion of its ambassador to Venezuela

File photo: The military elite of Venezuela with Nicolás Maduro during a parade in Caracas (Photo-Reuters)

The European Union (EU) did not rule out adopting new measures against Venezuela, pending the consumption of the ultimatum that the Nicolás Maduro regime gave on Wednesday to the European ambassador in Caracas, Isabel Brilhante, to leave the country, further take, this Saturday.

“The EU and its Member States reserve the right to consider any other appropriate measure”, said this Friday to the news agency EFE the spokesperson for the European External Action Service, Nabila Massrali.

Tension between the EU and Venezuela increased on Monday, when the supranational bloc approved new sanctions against 19 high officials of the regime, taking one more step to its rejection shown so far against the elections of December 6 and the constitution of the new National Assembly, which Brussels does not recognize when considering that these elections did not comply with democratic standards.

The list of sanctioned includes magistrates of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, the top leaders of the National Electoral Council and deputies of the National Assembly controlled by the dictatorship.

Until now, the EU had limited itself to publicly showing its condemnation of those elections and the National Assembly and requesting dialogue between the Maduro regime and the opposition in order to hold new elections in which anti-Chavez leaders also participate.

The reaction from Caracas came on Wednesday, declaring Brilhante persona non grata and giving him 72 hours to leave the country, which ends this Saturday.

The head of the European Union delegation in Venezuela, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, leaves the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a meeting with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in Caracas on February 24, 2021. REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

The head of the European Union delegation in Venezuela, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, leaves the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a meeting with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in Caracas on February 24, 2021. REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

And Brussels reacted the next day emulating the decision, Also declaring persona non grata the head of the Venezuelan mission to the EU, Claudia Salerno. However, this does not imply their expulsion from community territory, because Salerno is also the Venezuelan ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg.

SUPPORT FROM THE US AND CONDEMNATION FROM RUSSIA

The EU – which asked the Maduro regime to reverse its decision – believes that expelling the European ambassador in Caracas “will only lead to greater international isolation of Venezuela.”

That message has received the backing of the new United States Administration, chaired by Joe Biden, which today published a statement in the same direction, right at a time when Europe and the international community are waiting to see the position that the new government in Washington takes on Venezuela.

Quite the opposite of the Russian Government, which today accused the Twenty-seven of “constantly torpedoing” the dialogue with Venezuela, thus opening a new front in the crisis that has worsened between Brussels and the Kremlin after the trip to Moscow of the High Representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.

File photo: Maduro and Putin in Moscow on September 25, 2019 (Sergei Chirikov / REUTERS)

File photo: Maduro and Putin in Moscow on September 25, 2019 (Sergei Chirikov / REUTERS)

After that trip, the EU has decided to launch its new sanctions regime for human rights violations, in response to the condemnation of the opposition Alexei Navalny, with measures that could be approved next week.

DIVISION

“Venezuela will only overcome its current crisis through negotiation and dialogue, to which the EU is fully committed, but this decision directly undermines it”Massrali said after the Caracas ultimatum to the European ambassador.

The crisis with Venezuela comes with the EU divided over what should be the strategy to follow in order to convince Maduro to call new elections.

The initial support for the opposition leader Juan Guaidó has failed and the Twenty-seven are now limited to recognizing him as one more important actor among the opponents of Chavismos, with whom we must dialogue, but without treating him as interim president.

By Dani Rovirosa (EFE)

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