On Friday, the European Union condemned the Venezuelan expulsion of the Spanish Ambassador to Caracas. The expulsion came after EU sanctions were placed on top Venezuelan officials for the non-respect of democratic principles, the rule of law and violations of human rights.
EU condemns Venezuelan expulsion of Spanish ambassador
In a statement delivered by High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU, she said “the European Union firmly condemns the decision by the Venezuelan authorities to declare the Ambassador of Spain in Caracas as persona non grata and expresses its full solidarity with Spain”.
“We call for this decision to be reversed as it affects relations between Venezuela and the European Union.”
Spain has expelled the Venezuelan ambassador in retaliation
Venezuela on Thursday expelled the Spanish Ambassador for “continuous aggression” towards the government and “repeated acts of interference in the internal affairs of our country”. Spain has since then also expelled the Venezuelan ambassador in retaliation.
“The principle of reciprocity in diplomacy implies that we give the same treatment that they’ve given to the Spanish ambassador, declare them ‘persona non grata’ and give them 72 hours to leave the country” government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said, according to Reuters.
EU to work towards a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis
The EU reiterated the need for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the crisis based on credible elections, as well as the release of all political prisoners and the upholding of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It also deplored the Supreme Court’s decision to exclude the opposition from the upcoming presidential elections.
“The EU will keep monitoring the situation and stands ready to take appropriate measures in light of developments and will continue using all its instruments to foster shared democratic solutions that can bring political stability and allow the country to address the pressing needs of the population that is harshly affected by the present crisis.”, the EU statement read.
Top Venezuelan officials are now subject to travel bans and asset freezes as a result of EU sanctions, though it was highlighted that “restrictive measures can be reversed depending on the evolution of the situation in the country”.
Image source, Council of the EU