EU Blacklists Top Venezuelan Officials over Torture, Rights Abuses

25 January, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores

Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, controlled by representatives from the ruling administration, agreed on Tuesday to call presidential elections in the first four months of 2018. Venezuela now suffers from food shortages, hyperinflation, and dwindling oil production - provoking massive migration out of the country.

"We won't have a problem, we only have one candidate to continue the revolution", Venezuelan media quoted him as saying.

"I am a humble worker, a man of the people, if the Socialist Party, if the forces of the Great Patriotic Pole, if the working class, women, youth, believe that I should be the presidential candidate of the Fatherland, I am at their orders, " he said during a mobilization in Caracas to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the overthrow of the Marcos Pérez Jiménez dictatorship on January 23, 1958.

The finalized date for the election has yet to be announced, though government and opposition dialogue representatives are rumored to be looking at a date in the first half of 2018.

A proposal to Venezuela's Constitutional Assembly by member Diosdado Cabello, centre, a leader of the ruling party, that presidential elections take place before the end of April, was passed.

While the latest round of talks was boycotted by the opposition on Thursday, both sides have hailed the internationally-mediated negotiations as "positive", though a final agreement has yet to be reached. Maduro, ignoring threats of global censure, plowed ahead with the vote for the Constituent Assembly last July and neutered the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

They point out that the election announcement itself was made by the new, pro-government national legislature Maduro created a year ago - which he did by simply outlawing the real, opposition-led legislature.

"We do not recognise the national constituency assembly".

Mr. Maduro's party then won regional elections in a landslide last October, taking most of the nation's governorships, and it further solidified its gains in December by sweeping municipal elections amid a boycott by the fractious alliance of opposition parties protesting what it called a rigged electoral system.

The EU officials said those sanctioned "are involved in the non-respect of democratic principles or the rule of law as well as in the violation of human rights". The opposition plans to hold primaries to choose a candidate, but the hasty presidential vote may make that tricky. "Certainly the people would have to decide".


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