Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the European Union ambassador to Caracas to leave the country after the EU slapped sanctions on supporters of the embattled leader.
“Enough with European colonialism against Venezuela.
”The European Union ambassador (has) 72 hours to leave the country, enough with supremacist interventionism and racism,” Maduro said at the Miraflores Palace according to a government statement.
The leader said it is time to “sort out our business with the European Union,” adding that “if they don’t want us, they should leave.”
The EU Council on Monday added 11 Venezuelan officials to its sanctions list, accusing them of undermining democracy and the rule of law in the South American country.
They will be hit with EU entry bans and an assets freezes.
In a statement, the EU cited the officials’ involvement in stripping parliamentary immunity from several members of the National Assembly, including Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
The EU considers Guaido the legitimate head of the National Assembly in spite of a Venezuelan Supreme Court decision earlier this month confirming government ally Luis Parra as holding the post instead.
Parra, whose election came in an official but disputed vote, is among the newly sanctioned individuals.
The EU considers his election illegitimate.
Venezuela is locked in a bitter power struggle, with Guaido backed by the U.S. and many Latin American and European nations.
About 50 countries, including the U.S. and most members of the EU, recognise him as Venezuela’s interim president.
Maduro meanwhile is supported by China, Russia and his local allies Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua.