EU Lawmakers Claim Expulsion From Venezuela, Caracas Suggests Conspiracy

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BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – A group of members of the European Parliament claimed Sunday they were being expelled from Venezuela right upon arrival, but Venezuelan Foreign Ministry reported that parliamentarians were planning a conspiracy in the country.

“Be aware!Our passports have been taken and we’re being expelled from Venezuela. Bad manners and the only explanation is [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro doesn’t want us here”, a member of the European Parliament Gonzalez Pons wrote on Twitter.

If expulsion happens, it should be the final proof that options are over, and the European Union should withdraw from the Contact Group on Venezuela, he added. In turn, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Caracas would not allow provocations in the country.

“By diplomatic official channels, the authorities of Venezuela were notified several days ago about the arrival of a group of European parliamentarians who intended to visit the country for conspiracy purposes, which is unacceptable. They were recommended to avoid provocations”, he wrote on Twitter.

Tensions in Venezuela escalated over two weeks ago when opposition parliament speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, disputing last year’s re-election of incumbent leader Nicolas Maduro. Guaido was immediately recognized by the United States and a number of other countries. Russia, China, Mexico, Iran Turkey and Uruguay were among those that have voiced their support for constitutionally elected Maduro as the country’s legitimately elected president.

Certain EU member states have separately recognized Guaido after the Venezuelan authorities failed to organize a new presidential election in the country within an eight-day period set by the EU states. Italy, along with Ireland, Greece and Slovakia, earlier refused to follow other EU nations’ lead in recognizing Juan Guaido as interim president. Moreover, according to a Sputnik source, Italy vetoed an EU joint statement that was supposed to recognize Guaido.

Maduro has called Guaido a puppet of the United States and has informed Washington of his decision to sever diplomatic ties. The Venezuelan military has reportedly reiterated its loyalty to the legitimate president Maduro despite the opposition’s calls to switch allegiance.

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