The government of Venezuela has harshly criticized the European Union for imposing sanctions on the country’s senior officials, saying the move shows the bloc is serving the interests of the United States.
Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that EU’s blacklisting of officials from the government of President Nicolas Maduro and his ruling party was in line with US President Donald Trump’s hostile policies against Venezuela.
“The European Union once again offers irrefutable proof of its remarkable subordination to the supremacist and racist government of Donald Trump,” said the ministry in a statement.
Earlier on Monday, the EU blacklisted seven Venezuelan officials, including the interior minister, the intelligence chief, the attorney general, the head of the body overseeing elections and the number two in Maduro’s socialist party.
The new EU sanctions are the first targeting individuals in the Venezuelan government as previous measures had put an embargo on weapons and equipment that could be used against opponents.
Diplomatic sources had earlier indicated that EU’s foreign ministers would impose sanctions against key figures involved in the crackdown on protests.
The sanctions come amid efforts by regional bodies in the South America region to mediate disputes between Maduro’s government and the opposition.
More than 120 people were killed last year during protests against Maduro over an economic crisis in the oil-rich country.
The socialist leader has rejected opposition calls to resign while accusing the US and other Western governments of sponsoring the unrest.
Maduro says the opposition has gone too far in capitalizing on Venezuela’s economic woes, which he says are mainly due to the fall in the global oil prices. He also says the opposition is seeking to undermine the rule of law in the country.