Catalonia’s anti-capitalist CUP party on Thursday played down revelations that one of its top leaders flew to Caracas in December 2014 aboard a Venezuelan Air Force jet sent to Madrid by President Nicolás Maduro. They were accompanied by a Podemos official and the father of a convicted ETA terrorist.
Antena 3 broadcast exclusively images of passengers boarding the Venezuelan jet in Madrid
The story was broken on Wednesday by Spanish TV channel Antena 3, whose news report broadcast a video of CUP Deputy Anna Gabriel and María José Aguilar, who is in charge of Podemos in Castilla-La Mancha, boarding the plane at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas International Airport.
Also traveling with them was Ignacio Gil de San Vicente, father-in-law of ETA’s former top leader David Pla and father of terrorist Kizkitza Gil de San Vicente. Pla was arrested last September in France.
The video was taken in early December 2014, Antena 3 said.
“We have never tried to hide our sympathy for Venezuela,” said former deputy Josep Manuel Busqueta in a radio interview. “We have shared many measures with Venezuela.”
According to the television network, the video is another example of the ties that exist between the Maduro government and the anti-capitalist movement in Catalonia, ETA and Podemos.
Who are CUP?
CUP has made regular headlines since the September regional elections in Catalonia, which saw them end up with the key to power in the region given that no party secured a majority in parliament. In an 11th-hour deal earlier this month, they agreed to vote in favor of the investiture of Carles Puigdemont as premier, having rejected voting Artur Mas, of the Junts pel Sí group, back in to power. Both CUP and Junts pel Sí are in favor of independence for Catalonia, but share few other policies in common. The small anti-capitalist party supports Catalonia leaving the euro zone and NATO.
Podemos has repeatedly denied that it has received any financial backing from Venezuela. But some members have acknowledged that they had worked as private consultants to the government in Caracas.
When asked by Antena 3 what she did on the trip, Gabriel, who is the CUP spokeswoman in the Catalan parliament, replied: “Many interesting things.”
Busqueta explained that Gabriel took part in an international meeting of intellectuals and artists in defense of humanity.
Besides the three, about 30 other passengers from other countries also boarded the Venezuelan Air Force jet, which was located in the private area of Madrid’s airport, Antena 3 said.
English version by Martin Delfín.