EU waves sanctions threat over Venezuela vote


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union warned on Thursday that it could impose further sanctions on Venezuela, threatening “appropriate measures” if democracy in Venezuela were undermined by elections to be held in a month’s time.

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a gathering with supporters at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File photo

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that she regretted the way the authorities under President Nicolas Maduro had called the May 20 presidential and legislative elections without a consensus on the “conditions for a credible and inclusive electoral process”.

She went on: “The European Union will monitor closely the electoral process and related developments on the ground and stands ready to react through appropriate measures to any decision or action that might continue to undermine democracy, the rule of law and human rights situation in the country.”

She added that all parties should be allowed to contest fair elections in the country.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told regional leaders that more must be done to isolate Maduro, and that Washington would not stand “idly by” as the country crumbles. The EU imposed some sanctions on Venezuela late last year, accusing Maduro of breaches of human rights.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Alastair Macdonald

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