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Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Luis Parra shows a copy of the Venezuelan Constitution during a press conference at the National Assembly building, in Caracas, on January 20, 2020
The European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on 11 Venezuelans on Monday, mostly for actions against the opposition to the government of Nicolás Maduro, including Luis Parra, who contested the presidency of the majority opposition parliament against Juan Guaidó in January.
The decision, published in the Official Journal of the EU, brings the number of people sanctioned to 36, in the opinion of the bloc, to undermine democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Venezuela, a country mired in a political and economic crisis .
In January, Parra, an opponent accused of corruption in connection with the Maduro government’s food distribution program, had proclaimed himself legislative head, in parallel to Guaidó’s reelection in the unicameral National Assembly.
The EU rejected in June his ratification as president of parliament by the Chavista line of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), considering that « the voting session that led to the ‘election’ of Luis Parra was not legitimate. »
The Europeans also prohibit travel to the block and freeze the assets of Franklyn Leonardo Duarte and José Noriega, opposition deputies confronted with Guaidó and who proclaimed themselves in the controversial vote as first and second vice-presidents.
The Europeans also sanction Gladys del Valle Requena and Tania Valentina Díaz González, responsible for the official National Constituent Assembly (ANC), for « depriving » Juan Guaidó of his « parliamentary immunity ».
For actions against the proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, recognized by some fifty countries, the EU imposes the same restrictive measures on Elvis Hidrobo Amoroso, former vice president of the ANC and comptroller general.
The second vice president of the TSJ, Juan José Mendoza, and the prosecutors of the first special court of first instance of Venezuela, Farik Karin Mora and Dinorah Yoselin Bustamante, are also the target of sanctions for actions against the opposition.
The list is completed with José Adelino Ornelas Ferreira, secretary of the Defense of the Nation Council whom the EU accuses of repressing the opposition, and with Jorge Elieser Márquez, director general of the National Telecommunications Commission, for limiting the right to information.
Venezuela became in 2017 the first Latin American country sanctioned by the EU that, since then, has also imposed an arms embargo. The measures, which are « reversible », seek to promote a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country.
The 27 countries, whose foreign policy is decided unanimously, are reluctant to raise the pressure to the maximum, with sanctions against Maduro, so as not to close diplomatic channels, despite the fact that the United States and the opponents ask him for a tougher position.