Maduro scoffs at EU sanctions

Caracas (AFP) –

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday scoffed at sanctions imposed by the European Union and accused Brussels of doing US President Donald Trump's bidding.

"I don't care about the European Union sanctions, the sanctions of the European Union make us laugh," Maduro told a press conference, saying the EU was "sinking in the mud of Donald Trump's failed Venezuela policy."

The EU imposed sanctions on Friday on seven Venezuelan intelligence and security officials on charges they tortured to death Rafael Acosta, a naval officer accused of plotting a coup.

Europe's sanctions came a day after US President Donald Trump tightened American sanctions on Maduro's regime, suspending senior members of the Venezuelan government from entering the United States.

EU ambassadors approved the sanctions on Wednesday as the bloc seeks to keep up pressure on Maduro. The punitive measures impose European travel bans and asset freezes.

Venezuela is caught in an economic crisis and a political standoff between Maduro's government and National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.

The oil-rich country suffers from hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods from food to medicine, a crisis that has forced some 3.6 million people to flee since 2016.

"Venezuela is under a banking and finance embargo across the world," said Maduro, whose regime is supported by Russia, China, Turkey and Cuba.