Spain calls Venezuelan ambassador to task over insults made by Maduro

President of South American country called Prime Minister Rajoy a “racist”

President Maduro during his weekly TV broadcast.
President Maduro during his weekly TV broadcast.HANDOUT / REUTERS

Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has summoned Venezuela’s ambassador in Madrid, Mario Isea, in order to convey its displeasure and rejection of statements made by President Nicolás Maduro in which he called Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy a “racist.”

The incident was sparked after Spain’s Congress approved a non-binding motion in which it condemned the jailing of Venezuelan opposition leaders, including Leopoldo López and Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.

Diplomatic sources said insults directed toward a prime minister and parliament could not be ignored

“The [Spanish] courts should go and voice their opinions about their own mothers, but they should not be giving opinions about Venezuela,” Maduro had stated in response. Maduro also accused Rajoy of being “behind all of the maneuvers against Venezuela,” and announced “a comprehensive response” to “bring the fight to Madrid.”

Until now, the Spanish government had opted to keep quiet over Maduro’s outbursts, in order to avoid an escalation of tensions between the two countries that could have an adverse effect on Spanish interests in Venezuela. However, diplomatic sources have said that insults directed toward a prime minister and parliament could not be ignored.

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The secretary of state for parliament relations, José Luis Ayllón, said on Wednesday morning that “leveling accusations against a government, a politician, a party or a parliament for defending freedom and plurality in democracies is completely out of place.”

The Venezuelan government withdrew its ambassador in Madrid late last year, after Prime Minister Rajoy received the wife of López as a guest. He returned, however, in February, in what appeared to be a normalization of relations.

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