Venezuela expelled the head of the European Union’s delegation in Caracas, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza announced on Wednesday, in response to fresh sanctions imposed by the EU.
Speaking on national Venezuelan television, Arreaza said Isabel Brilhante had 72 hours to leave the country.
“Today, by decision of President Nicolas Maduro, we have delivered in Isabel Brilhante’s hands, who in recent years was the head of the European Union delegation in Venezuela, the declaration as ‘person non grata’,” he said.
“According to the Vienna convention, regarding diplomatic relations, she has been given a 72-hour deadline to leave the Venezuelan territory.”
On Monday, the EU imposed sanctions on 19 Venezuelan officials it accused of “undermining the oppositions’ electoral rights” and “serious violations of human rights” in the country, after allies of Maduro won legislative elections in December that the Venezuelan opposition, as well as several other countries, said were fraudulent.
The sanctions froze the assets and imposed travel bans on the 19 officials, bringing the total number of individuals sanctioned in Venezuela to 55.
The EU said the measures are reversible and are not meant to affect the Venezuelan population.
“These targeted measures are designed not to have adverse humanitarian effects or unintended consequences for the Venezuelan population, and can be reversed,” the council of the EU said in a statement.