The Nicolás Maduro regime called the European Union’s ambassador in Caracas, the Portuguese Isabel Pedrosa, a persona non grata, and gave her 72 hours to leave the country. The Venezuelan government’s decision was announced after new bloc sanctions.
The dictator also issued an ultimatum to the EU. “Or do you ratify [as sanções] or you don’t agree, ”Maduro said.
The European bloc sanctioned 19 Venezuelan government officials, including Remigio Ceballos, one of the country’s main military leaders, Indira Alfonzo, president of the National Electoral Council, and two members of Congress.
Shortly after the announcement of Pedrosa’s expulsion, the Chancellor of Venezuela, Jorge Arreaza, delivered letters of protest to the Ambassador of France, Romain Nadal, and to representatives of Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, urging their governments to reassess their position on the southern regime.
“As we said goodbye today, goodbye in Portuguese, because Senhora Brilhante is originally Portuguese, we don’t want to have to say adios [adeus, em espanhol]auf wiedersehen [em alemão] or goodbye [em francês]“Said Arreaza, who classifies European sanctions as illegal and unacceptable.
“We hope that there will be a reflection on the part of the European Union, that we can rebuild bridges of understanding and dialogue, which they learn to respect”, declared the Chancellor, who underlined the generosity of the country by allowing the presence of European representatives, after the bloc did not recognize her as head of state in 2019, following the 2018 presidential election – she is accused of fraud by most Western countries.
The sanctioned officials are accused of undermining democracy after the December 6 legislative elections – boycotted and accused of fraud by the regime’s largest political parties.
Without recognition from the United States, the EU and several Latin American countries, the election gave the governing party and its allies 256 of the 277 seats in parliament, giving Maduro control of the only power that was in the hands of the hands of the opposition.
It was this Assembly which asked the dictator on Tuesday 23 to expel Brilhante and to revise the operating agreement for the representation of the European bloc in Caracas.
The EU – which tried unsuccessfully to postpone the vote so that there were conditions to ensure the participation of opponents – responded to Brilhante’s expulsion.
“The EU deeply regrets this decision, which will only lead to greater international isolation of Venezuela,” said Nabila Nasrali, spokesperson for the European Commission’s foreign affairs service. “We ask that this decision be overturned.”
Two European diplomats also told Reuters news agency that the measure is unwelcome and will not change bloc policy, end sanctions or hamper efforts to chart a course towards new free and fair presidential elections in the country.
This is not the first time that the Venezuelan regime has declared Brilhante persona non grata in the country. In June 2020, after another package of European sanctions, Maduro made the same announcement and also gave the representative 72 hours to leave the country. Negotiations with the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, however, reversed the measure.
In 2017, Venezuela became the first Latin American country to be sanctioned by the EU, which has since approved measures against 55 regime officials, ranging from a travel ban on European territory to an asset freeze.
The Maduro government still faces strong US sanctions, including an oil embargo, which aims to overthrow the dictator. James Story, the US ambassador to Venezuela, based in Bogotá, said the regime is increasingly isolating itself.
“We regret that EU Ambassador Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa is among the nearly 6 million people expelled from Venezuela by the regime,” he said, referring to the wave of migration of Venezuelans leaving the country. country to escape the severe economic and social crisis.