Wednesday, October 29, 2014

España/Venezuela: Riff Between Madrid, Caracas Escalates as Venezuela's Envoy Recalled

According to The Latin American Tribune, Venezuela has recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations as part of a review of relations with Madrid prompted by recent comments from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said Tuesday (October 28).

The Andean nation’s leftist president, Nicolás Maduro, announced the review last Friday (October 24), two days after Rajoy met in Madrid with Lilian Tintori, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, who was arrested on February 18 and awaits trial on charges of fomenting violence.

In a discussion that took place at the headquarters of Spain’s governing conservative Popular Party (PP), PM Rajoy voiced concern about due process in the case of López and said the rights of free expression and peaceful protest need to be respected in Venezuela, according to a PP statement.

COMMENT: Generally speaking, the recalling of an accredited diplomat for "consultations," is a precursor for negative reactions by one nation over another.

Maduro blasted Rajoy’s action as “unfriendly” interference and a gesture of “support for far-right groups that engage in violence in Venezuela.”

Forty-three people were killed and scores more were injured in Venezuela in connection with anti-government protests that began in mid-February 2014.

Fatalities included both supporters and opponents of the leftist government, as well as public employees and bystanders.

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