Podemos has not signed up to a manifesto supporting democracy in Venezuela and which has been supported by Spain’s other leading political groups.
The Popular Party (PP), the Socialist Party (PSOE), Ciudadanos, Union Progress and Democracy (UPyD) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) all lent their signatures to a document calling on Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro to respect the outcome of the December 6 election, in which the opposition won 112 out of the 167 seats in the National Assembly.
Representatives of participating Spanish parties expressed support for the Venezuelan opposition and agreed on the need to respect the election results to achieve a democratic power transfer. The Venezuelan government has been maneuvering to appoint sympathetic Supreme Court justices and has also appealed the election results in three provinces.
At the Madrid signing ceremony, Ciudadanos representative Fernando Maura remarked indirectly on Podemos’ conspicuous absence.
“If anyone ever believed that the chavista regime was based on freedom and democracy, they were wrong,” he said.
Several Podemos leaders, including Pablo Iglesias himself, used to have ties with the Venezuelan regime, and worked as advisers for the late Hugo Chávez. One of Podemos’s founding members was embroiled in a scandal involving large sums paid out by Latin American regimes for alleged advisory work, which he had failed to declare to Spanish tax authorities.
There at the signing ceremony was Leopoldo López Gil, father of the jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López. The senior López thanked Spain for its support, and stated that the Venezuelan people are facing “a neo-dictatorship and extreme populism” that prevent it from expressing its own will.
English version by Susana Urra.