January 26, 2021

EU sanctions prevent “entry and transit” of the vice president of Maduro in Spain


The sanctions regime designed by the European Union to punish senior officials of the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro includes the prohibition of “entry” and “transit” of the 25 people inscribed on the list of those punished for their complicity with the repression, including the vice president who stopped last Monday at the Madrid Barajas airport, Delcy Rodríguez.

This is stated in the framework decision that the Twenty-eight adopted in November 2017 to establish the legal framework that would allow imposing restrictive measures on senior Maduro positions for participating in internal repression and incurring violations of Human Rights.

Specifically, the sanctions impose the freezing of assets on behalf of these persons in European entities and also the prohibition of entry and transit through European Union territory for their relationship with abuses in Venezuela against democracy.

With this decision, the EU was able to add names later to a list of sanctions in which Rodriguez has been since June 2018 and currently has 25 individuals who the block considers responsible for “serious violations of Human Rights and abuses and repression against civil society and political opposition. “

There are also among those sanctioned high positions to which the EU links with “actions or policies designed to undermine democracy or the rule of law.”

For all these reasons, the framework decision establishes in the chapter on restrictions on the admission of persons that the member states “shall adopt the necessary measures to prevent the individuals indicated in the list of sanctions from entering or entering their territory.

THE COUNCIL SHOULD BE INFORMED IF AN EXEMPTION IS GRANTED

However, the rules provide for a series of exceptions such as that a Member State is not obliged to deny the entry of a sanctioned person if it is one of its nationals or if, for example, it is the host country of an international conference sponsored by the United Nations or acts under a multilateral agreement that confers privileges and immunities.

In any case, the common rules warn that the Council should be informed “in all cases in which a Member State grants an exemption of conformity” to the cases provided for in this framework.

The Member State would also have to inform its partners in the EU “in writing” if it wanted to grant one of the sanctioned exemptions “for urgent humanitarian reasons” or for attending EU or OSCE meetings for a political dialogue. that directly promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Venezuela. The authorization of entry by exemption, in any case, would be “limited to the object for which it was granted and to the persons to whom it refers.”

THE EU SAYS IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SPAIN TO COMPLY WITH SANCTIONS

After transcending that the vice president of Maduro made a stopover in Madrid in the early hours of last Monday and that he could have met with the Minister of Transport and Secretary of Organization of the PSOE, José Luis Ábalos, at the Madrid airport, the European Union has unmarked this Friday of the responsibility to monitor that the sanctions regime is applied and has said that it is a competence of the national authorities.

“If there has been a violation, whatever it is, it is up to the Member States to evaluate it. For our part we stay there,” a spokeswoman for the European External Action Service said in a press conference in Brussels.

However, the evaluation to clarify whether Spain failed to comply with its obligations in this case is something “responsibility of the competent national authorities”, which, according to community sources, under the system of sanctions against Venezuela is the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If these national authorities detect a failure to comply with the sanctions, the sources add, there is no sanction procedure provided against the Member State because they are not expected to depart from the rules.

In any case, European sources insist that coercive measures that apply to third countries, such as sanctions imposed on Venezuela, are actions agreed “unanimously” in the Council, so “it is not an option” to choose whether they apply them or not.

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