European Union imposes sanctions on 11 Venezuelan officials

June 25 (UPI) — The European Union Council on Monday imposed sanctions on 11 Venezuelan officials over allegations of human rights abuses.

The sanctions, which include travel bans and asset freezes, come after the EU Council criticized Venezuela’s May 20 elections as being “neither free nor fair.” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won re-election with about 68 percent of the vote, which the EU said “lacked any credibility as the electoral process did not ensure the necessary guarantees for them to be inclusive and democratic.”

Most opposition parties boycotted the election because they argued that it would be rigged and participating in it would further legitimize the ruling party’s win.

The EU Council has now put sanctions on 18 Venezuelan officials. On Jan. 22, the EU put seven Venezuelan officials under sanctions for alleged violations of human rights.

“The restrictive measures aim to help foster democratic shared solutions that can bring political stability to the country and allow it to address the pressing needs of the population,” the EU Council said on Monday.

Last month, the United States imposed sanctions on three Venezuelan individuals and 20 business entities in the country.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said those affected were drug “kingpins” with ties to the Venezuelan government.

“We have frozen their assets, blocked their access to our nation, so they can no longer poison our people with their deadly drugs,” Pence said.

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