European Union hits sanctions on 19 Venezuelan Officials

The EU introduced restrictive measures on Venezuela in November 2017. The measures include an embargo on arms and on equipment for internal repression, and the imposition of travel bans and asset freezes on listed individuals.

By Promise Published on February 24, 2021
European Union hits sanctions on 19 Venezuelan Officials

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union on Monday added 19 leading Venezuelan officials to the list of those subject to restrictive measures, due to their role in acts and decisions undermining democracy and the rule of law in the country, or as a result of serious human rights violations.


The officials — which include high-ranking generals and other army commanders as well as supreme court judges and senior politicians from the regime of strongman Nicolás Maduro — were hit with travel bans and asset freezes “in view of the deteriorating situation in Venezuela following the December 2020 elections,” the Council of the EU said in a statement.


"The individuals added to the list are responsible ... for undermining the opposition's electoral rights and the democratic functioning of the National Assembly, and for serious violations of human rights and restrictions of fundamental freedoms," the EU said in a statement.


Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said in a statement posted on Twitter that the sanctions were based on "false arguments about honorable citizens". He said it was a sign the EU was frustrated by the ineffectiveness of its actions to force a change of government in Venezuela.

Those sanctioned included two lawmakers of what the EU called the non-democratically elected National Assembly: Bernabe Gutierrez and Jose Brito, who are recognised by Venezuela's government as leaders of two opposition parties. 

The parties have disavowed Gutierrez and Brito, saying they are collaborating with the government.

The EU also sanctioned Omar Prieto, governor of the state of Zulia, Remigio Ceballos Ichaso, the armed forces operational commander, and three officials of the Electoral Council, including its president, Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre.

The new travel bans and asset freezes also targeted supreme court justices and marked a toughening of the EU's approach by targeting political leaders who describe themselves as opposition members but are seen as being allied to Maduro.

The West accuses Maduro of human rights abuses, underminingdemocracy and stoking hyperinflation that has dragged the oil-producing Andean nation towards economic collapse. 

Maduro says that Venezuela's economic situation is the result of U.S. sanctions that have crippled the OPEC member's oil exports and prevented it from importing fuel.




Senior Staff Reporter

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