EU extends Venezuela sanctions over democracy, rights violations

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a meeting with ministers at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela November 2, 2018. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Tuesday extended sanctions against Venezuela until November 2019 for what it said were human rights violations and undermining of democracy and the rule of law under President Nicolas Maduro.

The bloc has an embargo against Venezuela on the sales of arms and “equipment for internal repression”, a travel ban and an asset freeze on 18 Venezuelan officials in place.

This is in response to accusations of rights abuses by state security officials during anti-government protests in January, and a May presidential election that gave Maduro a second term but was widely dismissed as a sham.

The deep political, social and economic crisis in the oil-rich South American country has driven more than two million Venezuelans abroad, according to the United Nations.

Maduro accuses the United States, which also has slapped sanctions on his officials, of running an international conspiracy against him.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Mark Heinrich