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The European Union (EU) imposed travel and asset sanctions against eleven Maduro regime officials today, bringing the total number of individuals sanctioned by the bloc to eighteen. The sanctions came into effect today in reaction to the May 20 presidential election that gave Maduro a second term, which the EU considers were neither free nor fair.

The eleven individuals sanctioned, listed below, are now banned from travelling in the EU and have had their assets there frozen. They are:

  • Tareck El Aissami, Vice president of Economy and Minister for National Industry and Production;
  • Sergio Jose Rivero Marcano, Inspector General of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces;
  • Jesus Rafael Suarez Chourio, General Commander of the Bolivarian Army;
  • Ivan hernandez Dala, Chief of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM);
  • Delcy Rodriguez, Vice President;
  • Elias Jaua, Minister of Education;
  • Sandra Oblitas, Vice President of the National Electoral Council (CNE);
  • Xavier Antonio Reyes, Secretary General of the CNE
  • Socorro Hernandez, Rector of the CNE
  • Freddy Bernal, Head of the CLAP Distribution System;
  • Katherine Harrington, Deputy Prosecutor General.

In announcing the sanctions, the Council of the European Union said that the listed individuals have perpetrated human rights violations and undermined democracy in Venezuela,

The Council also said the following regarding the May 20 presidential election:

As indicated in the conclusions, the elections held in Venezuela on 20 May 2018 were neither free nor fair and their outcome lacked any credibility as the electoral process did not ensure the necessary guarantees for them to be inclusive and democratic.

This is the second round of sanctions that the EU has imposed on regime officials. The first came in January of this year, when the Council approved sanctions against seven officials over there violation of human rights and “non-respect of democratic principles”.

Minister of Health Removed from Office Amid Protests

Maduro announced this morning that he was removing embattled Minister of Health Luis Lopez from his position effective immediately, and replacing him with a university professor named Carlos Alvarado.

Lopez had come under increasing pressure in recent weeks over his demonstrated inability to respond to the unprecedented collapse in the country’s healthcare sector. His tenure elicited protests from healthcare workers.

Maduro made the announcement through his Twitter account in a post in which he called Alvarado “deeply humanist”:

I have assigned to this task a university professor, a physician, deeply humanist, Carlos Alvarado, he is our new Minister of Health

Alvardo was until a week ago the president of the Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (IVSS), the government agency in charge of pensions and other disbursements. Maduro removed him from that position and replaced him with general Carlos Rotondaro.

EFE Publishes Previously Unreleased Leopoldo Lopez Writings

Spain’s EFE published today a set of previously unreleased writings by Leopoldo Lopez, the jailed opposition leader who is currently three years into a thirteen-year sentence over his role in the 2014 anti-government protests.

Lopez’s arrest, trial and sentence were universally denounced by human rights organizations as a total fraud. Lopez was transferred to house arrest in July of last year after being held in the Ramo Verde military prison since February 2014.

In the pieces published by EFE, Lopez writes about a variety of topics, including his thoughts on how long it might take for Venezuela to rebuild itself in the post-dictatorship period, the prospects for national reconciliation, and what Venezuela could to do be a more equal country. The pieces were written between March and October 2016,

On the question of whether national reconciliation was desirable and achievable, Lopez wrote:

Years of dictatorship have created a legacy of a deeply divided country. The powerful have encouraged Venezuelans to treat one another as enemies only because they think differently. The member of the ruling and opposition parties are not adversaries, as they should be in any modern society, but enemies, traitors. Workers and business owners cannot have shared ideas on production, on modernity. Those who unjustly have less are told that those who generate goods and services are greedy and exploitative.

This has destroyed our ability to co-exist. This cannot continue, and much less when it is stimulated by the government. There is no chance to recover as a country while we are facing off against one another.

(…)

The need to create the foundations for a new social contract is clear. To accept the plurality that defines us and ensures democratic stability, respect for minorities, the alternation of power, that which will guarantee each their productive vocation and adhere to what our Constitution outlines: the subordination of the military sphere to the civil sphere.


Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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