BRUSSELS – European Union member states were evaluating on Wednesday potential diplomatic measures that could be taken against the government of Venezuela amid political turmoil in the South American nation.
Spain has led calls to impose individual sanctions and travel bans on certain members of the administration of Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro.
“Obviously, a whole range of actions are discussed, but our priority is the urgent relief of the Venezuelan people and the de-escalation of the tensions,” said EU foreign affairs and security spokeswoman, Catherine Ray.
“We promote a political solution to the crisis and we are ready to further support ongoing regional mediation efforts,” Ray added.
The EU’s External Action body was to host talks on the Venezuelan crisis, in which Spain was to reiterate its call for targeted sanctions.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who leads the right-wing Popular Party’s minority government, confirmed earlier that Spain would petition the EU to rescind travel rights for members of what he termed the “Venezuelan regime.”
International pressure mounted on Maduro after the country’s intelligence services, SEBIN, arrested two opposition leaders who had been under house arrest – a decision that came off the back of a controversial election to appoint members of an assembly with the power to alter the constitution.
Dozens of people have been killed in Venezuela during months of political turmoil and violent street protests.