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Spanish MEPs visiting Venezuela deported at Maduro’s orders
VENEZUELAN former president Nicolás Maduro has expelled European Members of Parliament (MEPs) from the country after they travelled to Caracas to meet with new leader Juan Guaidó.
Spain’s Esteban González Pons (PP) was one of the European Parliamentary team, and said at the time: “They’re kicking us out. Firstly, they locked us up […] they’ve confiscated our passports and without explaining anything to us.
“Our passports are still being held. We’re being driven directly to an aircraft which, I hope, is bound for Madrid, but either way, they’re expelling us from Venezuela.”
González Pons, spokesman for the PP, was joined by his party’s deputy chairwoman in European Parliament, Esther de Lange, and European deputy chairman for the PP and its treasurer, Paulo Rangel.
Other Spanish MEPs retained and deported were deputy coordinator for the foreign affairs commission, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, deputy regional chairman for Central America Gabriel Mato Adrover, and assistant secretary-general of the PP in Europe, Juan Salafranca.
“The reason we’ve been given [for being deported] is that ‘Maduro does not want us here’,” González Pons told reporters whilst he was still at the Simón Bolívar International Airport in the State of Vargas.
Spain is among around 50 countries worldwide which have officially recognised Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela after he took power from Maduro in what the latter’s supporters called a coup d’état.
Spanish MEPs, along with those from other EU member States, tried to explain – by showing paperwork – that they had been formally invited to Venezuela by Guaidó’s party, the National Assembly, and by its chairman of the foreign affairs commission, Francisco Sucre, and that theirs was ‘not a private visit’.
González Pons said he and the rest of the MEP delegation were ‘very indignant’ and that their expulsion from Venezuela was ‘the final proof that this regime has become a tyrannical dictatorship’.
“When a country closes its windows and closes its doors so that nobody can see what’s happening inside it, this means it’s on the verge of turning the worst possible scenario from words into actions,” he warns, hinting at Maduro’s earlier threats of military action against the party he considers ‘usurpers’.
González Pons has urged the European Union and Spain to ‘pull out of the contact group’ set up in the EU and made up of European and Latin American nations in a bid to create the right conditions for Venezuela to hold ‘fair and credible’ presidential elections in line with international standards.
He has also caused for ‘the number of Maduro’s government leaders sanctioned’ to increase.
Venezuelan Chancellor under Maduro, Jorge Arreaza, responded to González Pons’ comments by saying the government of the Caribbean nation had notified MEPs ‘several days earlier’ that they ‘would not be permitted to enter the country’, claiming this was because the European mission had ‘intended to visit [Venezuela] for conspiratorial means’
“The Constitutional Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will not allow the European far-right to disrupt the peace and stability of the country with yet another of their rude insurgent actions. Venezuela has self-respect!” Arreaza said on Twitter earlier today (Monday).
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