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The European Parliament calls for sanctions against Maduro and Venezuelan oil company PDVSA

Ⓒ AFP – FEDERICO PARRA – | President Maduro speaks to the press before participating in a rally in Caracas, on February 7, 2018

The European Parliament asked on Thursday to extend the European sanctions to the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, to his environment and to the state oil company PDVSA, and also demanded the reinstatement of the right of opposition politicians to participate in the next presidential election.

In a resolution approved by 480 votes in favor, 51 against and 70 abstentions, MEPs call for the application of sanctions against the president, Vice President Tareck el Aissami and his entourage, “relatives included”, considering them “responsible for the aggravation of the crisis”.

MEPs also call, in this regard, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to initiate “investigations into the human rights violations perpetrated by the Venezuelan regime.”

The decision comes hours after the National Electoral Council (CNE) set for April 22 the celebration of an early presidential election, despite government and opposition failed to sign in Santo Domingo an agreement that included the date and guarantees for the celebration of those elections.

The resolution of the MEPs, promoted by the conservative and liberal groups of the Chamber, regrets the decision of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) to advance the elections and the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice to prohibit the participation of opposition candidates.

The European Union (EU) will “only” recognize “elections that are based on a viable electoral calendar and agreed in the context of the national dialogue with the set of (…) political parties” and “fair, just conditions of participation and transparent. ”

During a debate on Tuesday night about the situation in the Latin American country, the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, urged to “establish guarantees to ensure free, transparent and credible elections.”

“There should be no artificial conditions to limit the participation of political parties,” said Mogherini, who expressed the EU’s willingness to “adopt appropriate measures” with the objective of “supporting democratic and negotiated solutions.”

Although the EU expressed concern about the situation in the country during the four months of protests that left 125 dead between April and July, the election of a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) was the turning point for the adoption of sanctions.

In November, the EU approved its first package consisting of an arms embargo and material that could be used for “internal repression” and, in January, it imposed a visa ban and asset freeze for seven high-ranking officials in the country, including presidents of the CNE and the Supreme Court.

In addition to the president and the vice-president, the MEPs ask for sanctions against the Venezuelan Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino, and point out that “more diplomatic and economic measures could be studied and adopted, particularly with respect to the PDVSA.”

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