Venezuela: Electoral Authorities Reject EU ‘Neocolonialism’, Withdraw Observation Invite

Caracas has called on the European Union to cease its meddling and lift all sanctions against the Caribbean country.
CNE President Elvis Amoroso rejected the EU’s coercion attempt and ratified invitations to several organizations for July 28. (Xinhua)

Caracas, May 30, 2024 ( – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) withdrew its invitation for the European Union (EU) to send an observation mission to the upcoming presidential elections.

In a national television address on Tuesday, CNE President Elvis Amoroso said that the electoral power had taken the “sovereign” decision to “revoke and render null and void the invitation extended to the European Union” to participate in the July 28 vote.

The invitation withdrawal resulted from the European bloc announcing on May 13 the temporary removal of selective Venezuelan officials from its sanctions list, among them Amoroso and three former electoral officials, while extending the rest of the coercive measures until January 10, 2025. 

The EU claimed the step aimed to “support” the electoral process. At the time, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Yván Gil accused the EU of “neocolonial arrogance,” while CNE president Amoroso “categorically rejected” the coercion attempt.

In Tuesday’s communique, the electoral authority ratified the CNE position demanding the complete removal of the “genocidal sanctions” imposed by the European Union against the Caribbean nation. The text emphasized the “incalculable damage” caused to the Venezuelan people and the EU’s “complicit role” in the seizure of the country’s state companies, gold reserves and other assets.

Since 2017, the EU has imposed numerous sanctions against Venezuela, including travel bans and European-based asset freezes on more than 50 state officials. European authorities have never disclosed the alleged assets. The EU and member countries likewise fully supported Washington’s economic blockade and the self-proclaimed “interim government” headed by Juan Guaidó.

Following Caracas’s invitation withdrawal, the European Union issued a statement regretting the “unilateral decision” and complained that the presence of its observation mission was part of the Barbados Agreements signed between the Maduro government and the US-backed opposition. 

In the October 2023 accords, the two parties pledged to invite international observation missions from different organizations. However, Caracas has always defended its right to uphold its sovereignty from foreign meddling. So far, the EU has been the only organization or regional bloc whose invitation has been rescinded.

CNE authorities issued a second communique on Wednesday calling on the EU to end its “neocolonial practices, hostility, siege, and interventionism” in Venezuela’s internal affairs. 

In addition, the electoral institution emphasized that the July 28 vote would have a wide range of observation missions from “dozens of prestigious international organizations,” including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Carter Center, the African Union and a United Nations (UN) experts panel.

Caracas has also extended invitations to more than 250 individuals, among them human rights defenders, electoral experts, academics and solidarity activists. 

“[We will] proudly show the whole world our electoral system, which has become one of the main guarantees of Venezuelan democracy and an example for the world,” concluded the CNE’s second communique.

Venezuelan voters are set to participate in the July 28 election to choose the country’s next president for the 2025-2030 period. Incumbent Nicolás Maduro is seeking re-election for a third term amid a US-led sanctions program that has been in place almost his entire presidential mandate. 

On Tuesday, Maduro promised a wide-reaching dialogue with all sectors of Venezuelan society following the electoral results to neutralize any destabilization efforts by far-right opposition factions. Past elections have seen extremist sectors refuse to accept defeat and unleash violent street riots that left dozens killed. 

Nine opposition candidates are competing in the election, among them 74-year-old Edmundo González Urrutia, who is backed by the US-backed Democratic Unitary Platform and stands as a replacement for far-right politician María Corina Machado. The far-right politician hailing from the country’s elites saw a political ban upheld by the Venezuelan Supreme Court in January.

González has largely avoided public appearances, leaving Machado to lead the campaigning efforts with rallies across the country. Other prominent candidates are Antonio Ecarri and Benjamin Rausseo, who present themselves as political outsiders and aim to capture undecided voters.