European Parliament Calls for More Sanctions on Venezuela

European leaders say they may consider oil sanctions on Venezuela, while Mexico has warned such measures could hurt ordinary Venezuelans.

By Ryan Mallett Outtrim
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US failed attempts at an oil embargo
US calls for a regional embargo on Venezuelan oil have been met with scepticism by Mexico. (Reuters)

Puebla, Mexico, February 9, 2018 ( – The European Parliament called for further sanctions against Venezuela this week, while hot off the visit of US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Mexico has warned against oil sanctions.

In a resolution passed on Monday, European parliamentarians said they will not recognise the results of Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election, and called for more sanctions on high level officials in Caracas.

“The extension of the sanctions list to other Venezuelan officials and their family members should be promptly explored and adopted,” the resolution stated.

Parliamentarians also suggested the European Union should consider “sanctions on Venezuelan oil, including on dealings with the state-owned company PDVSA”.

Such a move would mirror calls from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for an international embargo on Venezuelan oil. Over the past week, the ex-Exoon Mobil CEO has toured Latin America to drum up support for such an embargo, which would have the potential to cripple the Venezuelan government’s ability to meet its financial obligations. Despite efforts to diversify the economy, oil exports still account for the single largest source of income for Venezuela’s government.

The proposal has been condemned by Caracas, with President Nicolas Maduro’s government describing sanctions and any potential embargo as attempts to “strangle the economy”.

“The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its complaint regarding the campaign of the government of the United States of America against the democratic institutions and the people of Venezuela, as it continues to threaten to apply more sanctions that affect [Venezuela’s] stability and quality of life,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

While Tillerson’s proposals appeared to garner lukewarm support from Jamaica, a member of the PetroCaribe alliance, key US ally Mexico said it had ruled out joining an oil embargo.

"Mexico is not going to impose oil sanctions in any country,” said Mexican Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell.

The Mexican official said he was concerned such trade restrictions could hurt ordinary Venezuelans, while also harming Caribbean nations that rely heavily on oil exports from Caracas.

“We are concerned about the repercussions that oil sanctions could have on the Venezuelan population and other countries, mainly in the Caribbean area,” he said.