Among a series of events happening in the northernmost country of South-America, Venezuela, its President Nicolás Maduro announced Thursday that his nation was expelling the Spanish ambassador, giving him only 72 hours to pack and leave. In front of this, the government of Spain decided to play the same cart, and also declared Friday Venezuela’s ambassador as a persona non grata.
This decision from the Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, who several local and international media have dubbed of “dictator,” came after the European Union imposed a series of sanctions to a list of seven Venezuelan authorities. According to the group of states, these sanctioned people have often attended against South-American country’s democracy.
According to Venezuelan authorities, Spain ambassador Jesús Silva Fernández has interfered in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
This is not the first time that Venezuelan officials are sanctioned by different countries. Previously, US President Trump added Mr. Maduro to the list of Presidents who cannot touch American soil or negotiate with US companies. Then, the US government announced there were other authorities and their siblings under the same sanctions.
That list keeps getting larger and larger.
Likewise, many other countries from the South-American region have also pronounced against the Venezuelan government. Peru and Colombia, among others, recently decided to take their ambassadors out of the country that’s passing through hard times of “dictatorship.”
Additionally, to avoid the EU sanctions, Mr. Maduro severely times said that Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was only a “puppet” of the US President Donald Trump.
In front of this, Spain denied it was interfering anyhow against Venezuela, but only denouncing the human rights violation that the Mr. Maduro’s government has continuously committed against his people.
Thus, previous Venezuelan ambassador in Spain Mario Isea has only until Saturday to leave the country.
Sanctions against the Venezuelan authorities
The EU announced Monday that seven Venezuelan authorities couldn’t travel anymore to the nations and that their assets were frozen.
The Union also remembered all the human right violations that occurred in the three-month anti-government protests that were held last year in Venezuela, where at least 120 people were killed by officials from the police and the military.
In a statement, Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said he lamented the actions that the EU had to take against Mr. Maduro’s government.
These sanctions were approved by all the 28 states that form the EU.
“All we have done from the beginning was helping the process,” Dastis wrote. “We have led in the EU efforts to identify effective pressure mechanisms to get effective negotiations [between the government and the opposition] under way in Venezuela”
On Tuesday, Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly – which the opposition dubbs of “illegally elected” – announced the upcoming 2018 presidential elections, as written in the constitution. As Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, this is a reaction against the EU sanctions.
Commonly, Venezuela’s elections are held between October and December. But as the authorities said, this time these will take place at the end of April.
Venezuela is facing the highest world’s inflation and has four years struggling to give their people the basic goods – food and medicine, among many others. However, Maduro said he would stand for another six-year term, and that it was time “to put an end to the imperialist threat,” and the “international economic sabotage” that – which according to him – is led by Spain and the US.
“Donald Trump won’t make decisions in Venezuela, [Spanish Prime Minister] Mariano Rajoy won’t make decisions in Venezuela. The people of Venezuela will,” he told the country through national media on Tuesday.
Last month, Venezuela expelled Canada and Brazil’s ambassadors from Caracas – also claiming that they were interfering in the country’s internal affairs. In front of this, both Canada and Brazil decided to expel their respective Venezuelan ambassadors.