Venezuela's Maduro orders EU envoy to leave after fresh sanctionsEuropost
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on Monday gave the head of the European Union mission in Caracas, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country after the bloc announced sanctions against 11 Venezuelan officials.
"Who are they to try to impose themselves with threats?" said Maduro. "We will sort it out in 72 hours... she will be given a plane to leave, but we will arrange our things with the European Union." Venezuela's airspace is currently closed to commercial airplanes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Relations have been tense since 2017 when Venezuela became the first Latin American country to receive sanctions from the EU, including an arms embargo.
Among the officials sanctioned Monday was opposition legislator Luis Parra, who backed by Maduro is contesting the leadership of the opposition controlled National Assembly with its president Juan Guaido.
Guaido used his position as head of parliament to challenge Maduro's authority in January 2019 by declaring himself acting president after the National Assembly deemed the socialist leader a usurper over his controversial re-election in 2018 in a poll widely branded fraudulent.
Guaido is recognised as his country's interim president by more than 50 nations, including the US and much of the EU. Parra, though, declared himself National Assembly president in January while security forces loyal to Maduro prevented Guaido from entering the building for a re-election vote he was widely expected to win. Initially allies, Parra fell out with Guaido after he was linked to a corruption scandal relating to a food distribution program run by Maduro's government.