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Wednesday 15th
posted by James Tweedie in World

Socialist state lambasts lack of EU democracy

VENEZUELA has slammed “absurd” European Union sanctions and US-led meddling at the UN security council on Monday.

Yesterday’s government statement condemned the “illegal, absurd and ineffective sanctions against the people of Venezuela.”

EU foreign ministers voted on Monday to ban arms sales to Venezuela — with the threat of individual sanctions on officials to follow — over unsubstantiated opposition allegations of vote-rigging in last month’s state governorship elections.

The arms embargo is likely to boost Russia’s already significant sales of military hardware to Venezuela.

The decision came days after the US sanctioned Venezuelan electoral and government officials — and its ambassador to Italy — on the same pretext.

Venezuela’s statement said that EU institutions were “brazenly violating international law, the sacred principles of respect for sovereignty, self-determination … and non-interference in internal affairs of states” enshrined in the UN charter. They “demonstrated their lamentable and shameful subordination to the dictates of the US government.”

Caracas said added that Brussels was seeking to portray a consensus on Venezuela across the bloc when, in fact, the big European economies had pressed smaller nations to toe the line, proving the “notable inequalities and absence of internal democracy in the ‘union’.”

In New York, Bolivia, China and Russia joined Venezuela’s UN ambassador in condemning the US for calling a semi-formal meeting of the security council on the pretext of “humanitarian access to those affected by the tensions” in Venezuela.

Last week the government freed several opposition militants who had been held on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks ahead of the summer’s riots, which left 124 dead.

Venezuelan UN ambassador Rafael Ramirez said: “This farce today is a hostile act by the US ... that violates the principle of sovereignty of a member state of the United Nations.”

Flanked by Caracas’s allies on the council, he rejected the “political manipulation by the US as a permanent member of the security council, who abuse their prerogatives and power to try to impose their geopolitical agenda in prejudice of multilateralism and peace.”

Yesterday global credit ratings agency Standard & Poor downgraded Venezuela to “selective default” status after it missed a $200 million (£153m) repayment on government bonds.

On Sunday Mr Maduro said a deal with Russia to refinance and restructure the national debt would be signed this week.