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Spain Recalls Ambassador from Venezuela as Relations Sour

On Wednesday, Spain recalled its ambassador to Venezuela for consultations, citing “insults, calumnies, and threats" from the Venezuela government. The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has taken an increasingly hostile stance toward Spain after the country passed a resolution last week calling on Venezuela to release jailed opposition figures.

Since the motion, Maduro has accused the Spanish government of “supporting terrorism” and of being party to an “international conspiracy” to overthrow his presidency. Maduro took aim at Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whom he called a “racist” whose government was a “group of corrupt [leaders], bandits and thieves.”

In a press release, Rajoy called the accusations of supporting terrorism “particularly offensive,” due to Spain’s history of suffering terrorist attacks.

“The adjectives used by the authorities—never by the Venezuelan people—are absolutely intolerable,” Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said on Wednesday.

Adding to the strain in relations between the two countries, Venezuela’s National Assembly voted this week to declare Spain’s former Prime Minister Felipe González a persona non grata, following his announcement last month that he would be joining the legal defense team of jailed opposition figure Leopoldo López, who has been imprisoned for over a year on charges of public incitement, damage to property and arson during deadly anti-government demonstrations in February 2014. The designation, which prevents González from entering Venezuela, came a day after his lawyer announced the former prime minister’s intention to travel to the country to visit López and fellow jailed opposition figure and former Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Leopoldo Lopez, Felipe Gonzalez, Spain

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