THE Spanish Ambassador to Venzeuela has been recalled after the country’s president launched a vitriolic attack on the leadership of their ex-colonial overlords.
With a clarity of thought uncommon in diplomatic circles, Nicolas Maduro loudly denounced interim Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy at a rally in Caracas protesting the Venezuelan parliament, which now opposes the executive following dramatic elections earlier this year.
“A racist I call you, Rajoy; a colonialist I call you Rajoy; corrupt trash I call you Rajoy; Venezuela needs to be respected,” bellowed Maduro in the kind of colourful langauge that marked the reign of his predecessor Hugo Chavez.
It is unclear what sparked the tirade, relations between the two nations have seen frequent diplomatic clashes throughout the past decade, but it could well be Maduro scoring political points for passion by choosing an easy target.
Now the Spanish Foreign Ministry has recalled Ambassador Antonio Perez Hernandez for the second time in one year. Maduro also accused Rajoy of fomenting terrorism in 2015, while there was no Spanish ambassadorial presence in the winter of 2014.
Maduro’s government is thought to have links to insurgent Spanish political party Podemos and he voiced indirect support for them in his latest bellicosity, goading Rajoy by saying “Over in Spain they are scared because of the rise of an organization with a leadership of its own,”
Having lost heavily at the country’s latest elections, it is possible that Maduro is trying to recapture the inspirational passion of Hugo Chavez, a hugely polarising figure who, even in death, commands the love of millions of Venezuelans. A fiery speaker, he once complained that a United Nations podium stunk of sulphur after George Bush Jr stood on it.