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Venezuela’s Vice President Delsey Rodríguez receives special permission to travel to Brussels in defiance of sanctions

Venezuela’s Vice President Delsey Rodríguez receives special permission to travel to Brussels in defiance of sanctions

(CNN) — Venezuela’s Vice President Delci Rodríguez received special permission to travel to Brussels this Monday and participate in an international meeting between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Rodriguez landed in the Belgian capital this Saturday Show a video He posted on his official Twitter account with the message: “On behalf of President Nicolás Maduro we are in Brussels to participate in the third EU-CELAC Summit.”

The vice president was one of several Venezuelan officials sanctioned by the European Union in 2018, after a disputed presidential election in which Maduro was re-elected to a second six-year term, under highly controversial conditions.

Sanctions against Rodriguez and other Venezuelan officials – accused of human rights abuses and undermining democracy in the Latin American country – include a travel ban and asset freeze.

An EU official told CNN that Rodriguez’s entry “is a possible exception to the summit visa ban under Article 6 of Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074”.

The European Union called the 2018 elections “neither free nor fair, and their results lacked credibility, as the electoral process did not ensure the necessary guarantees for them to be inclusive and democratic.”

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido criticized Rodriguez’s participation in the EU-CELAC meeting. While tweeting: “This reception of those who tortured, imprisoned and insulted the European Union last week, is the recovery of a whole society that is still resisting and looking for solutions. All this has been censored by the visit of the President. [de Ucrania] Volodymyr Zelensky. This impunity only favors dictatorships.”

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At the EU-CELAC plenary session, Rodriguez will hold talks with Argentina’s Presidents Alberto Fernandez, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Colombia’s Gustavo Pedro and France’s Emmanuel Macron, as well as representatives of Venezuela’s opposition Gerardo Ply. Talks between Venezuela’s government and the country’s opposition are expected to resume ahead of next year’s presidential election, according to an opposition representative who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Last month, Maria Corina Machado, a key opposition leader and frontrunner of the pro-democracy front, was barred from running for office by a Maduro-aligned court.