The European Union yesterday (31 July) condemned the excessive use of force by Venezuelan state troops during the elections. Brussels also said that it would not probably recognize the results of the poll accompanied by the deadliest riots since the massive protests started in April this year. Venezuelans took to the streets to boycott a poll for a constitutional super-body promoted by President Nicolas Maduro that will allow him to further consolidate his power over the crisis-torn country. Much of the international community – and many of Venezuelans themselves – have called the vote an assault on democracy.
Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, commented that “it is very clear that the current regime is clinging to power. The will of the people is to change the regime. It is necessary to go to elections now.” The EU’s executive branch also said that it had “serious doubts” about the result and condemned the excessive and disproportionate use of force. The Commission further added that “Venezuela has democratically elected and legitimate institutions whose role is to work together and to find a negotiated solution to the current crisis. A Constituent Assembly, elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances cannot be part of the solution.”
However, Brussels has not yet confirmed whether it was considering imposing sanctions following the example of the United States. Beginning on 31 July, all of Nicolas Maduro’s assets that are subject to US jurisdiction have been frozen and all US citizens are also barred from dealing with him. Federica Mogherini, the head of EU’s diplomacy, is preparing a joint statement but sanctions are not expected to be part of it since they would require unanimity.