By Carlos Dorante.
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho.
This Monday, February 22, the European Union sanctioned 19 elected and appointed officials linked to the Nicolás Maduro regime.
The total of specially designated individuals connected to the regime of Maduro now comes at 55, including the new sanctioned personnel.
The highest official sanctioned is the vice-minister, Manuel Perez Urdaneta. He is also the director of the National Bolivarian Police. Military officers such as Jesus Vasquez Quintero, Attorney General of the Military Prosecutor Office, were accused by the EU of “undermining the law in Venezuela,” specifically in the case of the death during its custody of Lieutenant Commander Rafael Acosta Arévalo in 2019.
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Another top military official sanctioned by the European Union was Remigio Ceballos, the commander of the Ceofan, the high military command. Ceballos was accused of excessive force using and inhuman and degrading treatment by FAN and GN officials against civilians.
Top law enforcement figures – Douglas Rico, director of the criminal investigation police, Carlos Carvallo Guevara, Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and Carlos Teran Hurtado, Director of Special Investigations of the DGCIM- were also sanctioned, accused of grave human rights violations, such as cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees committed by officials under his command.
Also sanctioned are Jose Dominguez Ramirez, director of the Special Actions Forces (Faes) accused of being responsible for the repression against civil society and the democratic opposition in Venezuela committed by officials under their authority.
The list also included the elected official, Jose Brito, who was elected a lawmaker to one of the two National Assembly legislative in Venezuela. The EU says he also helped undermine democracy. Brito was formerly an opposition politician but sided with Maduro in 2019. He has threatened and insulted reporters covering the legislative, according to complaints by professional guilds.
Besides, were included in the new EU sanctions, six Supreme Court judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), accused of “being responsible for actions and rulings that have usurped the constitutional powers of the National Assembly and undermined the electoral rights of the opposition, such as the unilateral appointment of the new board of directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE) and the suspension and replacement of the leadership of three of the main democratic opposition parties.” They are Arcadio Delgado Rosales (judge and vice-president of the Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ) and the judges of the same instance Luis Damiani Bustillos, Lourdes Suarez, Calixto Ortega, Rene Degraves, and Carmen Auxiliadora Zuleta De Merchan.
The appointed CNE electoral authorities were also sanctioned: Indira Alfonzo, president of the CNE and former judge of the Electoral Chamber of the TSJ, for taking actions against National Assembly in December 2015 that resulted in the impossibility for the deputies to exercise their legislative power.
Tania D’Amelio, one of the directors of the CNE, was sanctioned for organizing the 2018 presidential elections and changing the rules for the 2020 elections.
Another politician sanctioned is Jose Bernabe Gutierrez, accused of unlawfully taking over Accion Democratica, one of the old political parties in Venezuela, under a controversial Supreme Court decision.
Zulia state governor Omar Prieto was also sanctioned. During his political career, Prieto promised to make Zulia secede from Venezuela if the opposition won the regional elections.
The sanctions imply the prohibition to enter EU territory and the freezing of assets and goods held in the EU.