Chávez threatens with “expulsion” of Venezuela from the business of European countries that come to put into practice the directive against the undocumented
President Chávez yesterday promised to retaliate against the European Union following the approval by member states of the controversial “Return Directive”. Against facilitating the repatriation of illegal immigrants, Venezuela’s leader is willing to stop supplying oil to countries that apply the new legislation.
“We cannot stand by,” declared the Venezuelan head of state this Thursday, during a press conference in which he addressed the issue of the law voted this week in the European Parliament and which is already being strongly contested. by human rights groups.
The law that provides for the expulsion of illegal immigrants was voted on Wednesday in the European Parliament – having collected 369 votes in favour, 197 against and 106 abstentions – aiming to harmonize rules for the repatriation of undocumented immigrants in the European community, also allowing periods of detention of up to 18 months.
The new legislation will allow, as of 2010, EU member states to expel undocumented immigrants to countries they have passed through before entering European territory. After expulsion, immigrants are banned from returning to Europe for five years.
Against these provisions, the Venezuelan President leaves the warning: “Our oil will not go to the countries that apply this shameful directive”, threatened Hugo Chávez, who also promised a response in terms of economic relations, with the possibility of the countries of America Latin America to decide “the return of European investments”.
“We are prepared to do so. He will not be missed”, added Chávez, after stating that Caracas will make a list of companies “from those countries” that put the new legislation into practice and “carry out arrests of Colombians, Paraguayans, Bolivians and Ecuadorians”.
Chávez awaits a reversal of European governments.
The Venezuelan President, however, hopes that the different Member States will still come to speak in the opposite direction to the security current that marks the European agenda on immigration.
If this does not happen and the directive is carried out, Hugo Chávez questions the usefulness of future meetings between Latin American leaders and European heads of state. “Why more summits with the European Union?” he asked during a press conference.
At his side, Hugo Chávez has the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. These two countries have thousands of their citizens living in European countries, particularly in Spain.
Referring to the new law that will regulate emigration to Europe, Rafael Correa considered it to be the “directive of shame”.
For his part, Evo Morales defended a bloc made up of Latin America and Africa – the main targets of the new European legislation – that faces a directive that he considers to be an attempt “against Humanity and the lives” of people.
During a press conference in the capital La Paz, the Bolivian leader said that the two continents should join forces in an international campaign aimed at annulling the “Return Directive”.
“We are thinking of conducting an international campaign in order to reverse the situation”, said Evo Morales, adding that the first actions will have to be decided at the Mercosur summit, scheduled for July 1st in Argentina.
Javier Solana reacts to threats from Chávez
The European Union’s high representative, Javier Solana, has already reacted to the Venezuelan President’s threats, considering Hugo Chávez’s idea of expelling companies from countries that apply the return directive to be “totally disproportionate”.
“In my opinion, it is (a measure) totally disproportionate”, answered Javier Solana to the question posed this morning by journalists during the European summit marking the end of the Slovenian presidency.
Paulo Alexandre Amaral, RTP