French President Emmanuel Macron called for further European Union sanctions on Venezuela, days after the 28-nation bloc agreed a travel ban and asset freezes on seven senior Venezuelan officials. The West accuses President Nicholas Maduro's government of violating democracy and human rights in the oil-producing nation, which is in the grip of a major economic and social crisis with millions suffering food and medicine shortages.
Among the sanctioned are the number two of the government, Diosdado Cabello; Néstor Reverol, minister of Justice and Maikel Moreno, president of the Supreme Court of Justice. These are new individual sanctions, which include the freezing of assets and the prohibition to travel to the countries of the European bloc to at least seven senior Venezuelan officials.
Venezuela’s foreign minister blamed the United States for his country’s spiraling debt crisis, saying Washington’s “permanent attack” had left the economy crippled. Jorge Arreaza lashed out at Donald Trump, US and European sanctions, and American interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs at the Venezuelan embassy in Beijing during a three-day official visit.