Portugal: Portuguese EU ambassador expelled from Venezuela

The head of European diplomacy on Tuesday condemned the expulsion of the EU ambassador to Venezuela, Portuguese Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, and said “reciprocity” measures would be taken in response to President Nicolas Maduro’s decision. 

“We condemn and reject the expulsion of our ambassador to Caracas. We will take the necessary measures of reciprocity”, wrote EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell on his Twitter social network account.

He reiterated that “only a negotiated solution between Venezuelans will allow the country to emerge from the deep crisis” in which it finds itself.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expelled the EU ambassador to the country on Monday, hours after the European Union sanctioned 11 more officials from Caracas.

Maduro justified his action as retaliation for a resolution “in which the supremacist EU sanctions those Venezuelans who, forming part of state institutions, defend the Constitution”.

“Seventy-two hours for the EU ambassador to leave the country. Enough of colonialist interventionism, ‘supremacism’ and racism! Enough is enough’, he emphasised.

The EU has sanctioned 11 officials from President Nicolás Maduro’s government and several Venezuelan public authorities.

Those sanctioned are accused of “acting against the democratic functioning of parliament and violating the parliamentary immunity” of deputies, including the opposition leader and president of that body, Juan Guaidó.

Between 2008 and 2011, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa served as Consul General of Portugal in Caracas, a period that coincided with the strong political and economic momentum of bilateral relations, promoted by the then President and leader of the Bolivarian revolution, Hugo Chávez (1954-2013), and Prime Minister of Portugal, José Sócrates.

Since January, Venezuela has had two partially recognized parliaments, one with an opposition majority, led by Juan Guaidó, and one pro-regime, led by Luís Parra.

The political, economic and social crisis in Venezuela has worsened since January 2019, when Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president of the country until he removed Nicolás Maduro from power and called for a transitional government and free elections. Guaidó has the support of almost 60 countries.