The European Union on Thursday denounced Venezuela’s arrest of opposition leader Juan Guaido’s deputy as “another flagrant violation” of the south American country’s constitution.
Venezuelan intelligence agents arrested Edgar Zambrano, deputy to National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido, recognized as the country’s leader by more than 50 states, and who organized a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.
“The detention of the Vice-President of the National Assembly, Edgar Zambrano, by the Venezuelan secret police, constitutes another flagrant violation of the country’s Constitution,” said EU foreign affairs and security policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic.
She added: “It’s a politically motivated action aimed at silencing the National Assembly.”
“The European Union calls for Edgar Zambrano’s immediate release and holds the relevant authorities responsible for his safety and integrity,” her statement said.
“The civil rights, safety and parliamentary immunity of all members of the National Assembly, including its President, Juan Guaidó, must be observed and fully respected.”
Along with the EU, the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru protested his arrest.
Washington has given full-throated backing to Guaido, who tried but ultimately failed to ignite the anti-Maduro military uprising.
Guaido, who is recognized by more than 50 countries including the US as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president, acknowledged that he fell short.
Venezuela has suffered years of recession that have seen more than 2.7 million people flee poverty, hyperinflation, food shortages and insecurity since 2015, according to United Nations figures.