The government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro has barred five European parliamentarians from entering the country. They had been invited to visit by Maduro’s rival for power, Juan Guaido.
The Venezuelan government on Sunday blocked a group of representatives from the European Parliament from entering the country.
The lawmakers had been invited by Juan Guaido, who appointed himself interim president in early February in a challenge to long-acting President Nicolas Maduro, triggering a power crisis.
The visiting EU representatives are members of the conservative European People’s Party (PPE) bloc. The European parliament recognized Guaido as interim president in January.
“We are being expelled from Venezuela, our passports have been seized, they have not informed us of the reason for the expulsion,” group leader Esteban Gonzalez Pons of Spain said.
The other EU lawmakers detained alongside Gonzalez included Jose Ignacio Salafranca and Gabriel Mato Adrover of Spain, Esther de Lange of the Netherlands and Paulo Rangel of Portugal.
Guaido wrote on Twitter the lawmakers had been “deported by an isolated and increasingly irrational regime.”
In a further reference to Maduro, Guiado added that, “The usurper is the one who is increasing the price of what is already a fact: the transition.” He then called on his movement to continue fighting the Maduro government.
La delegación de eurodiputados invitada a Venezuela es expulsada por un régimen aislado y cada vez más irracional.Es el usurpador quien eleva el costo a lo que es un hecho: la transición.Ejerceremos toda la presión necesaria para lograr el cese de la usurpación. ¡Seguimos! pic.twitter.com/Mwvzi2l4Jr
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) February 18, 2019