Madrid, Caracas summon ambassadors as tensions rise
Spain and Venezuela have summoned each other’s ambassadors following tensions over a Spanish parliament motion calling on Venezuela to release opposition leaders.
On Wednesday, Madrid summoned Venezuelan Ambassador Mario Isea, while Caracas called in Spanish envoy Antonio Perez-Hernandez y Torra.
Following the move by Spanish lawmakers to pass the motion on April 14, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said it was “an act of aggression by corrupt Spanish elites.” He further accused Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of being “racist.”
After summoning Isea, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said Maduro’s recent remarks amounted to “insults and threats” and were “intolerable.”
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez also complained that Spain was meddling in the country’s affairs.
“We again call on the Spanish government to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty,” Rodriguez said.
In February, Caracas recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations after the Spanish premier met with Lilian Tintori, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopold Lopez. He later also met with Mitzy Capriles, the wife of jailed Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma.
Venezuela has recently come under pressure for the treatment of its opposition members.
Last month, Maduro accused former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez of joining a plot to overthrow his government.
Earlier this year, Washington imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials for allegedly violating the human rights of opposition figures, calling the country a national security threat.
The move triggered criticism from Caracas, which accused the US of meddling in its internal affairs.