THE Spanish foreign ministry has sacked its envoy to Brussels, Ignacio Jesus Matellanes Martine, amid accusations of him failing to turn up for work and repeated complaints of harassment by embassy staff.
The ambassador allegedly made no contact with the Belgian government during his tenure, with an embassy source stating: “The worst of it is that he didn’t represent the country at all. No one comes here. Matellanes doesn’t have meetings with anyone; he does nothing and prevents staff from taking even the smallest initiative.”
Another source said: “He hardly ever came to work and when he did he’d go to mass from 11am till 12 on a working day. He wanted to be ambassador to the Vatican. When His Holiness Benedict XVI was the pope he said he was in Opus Dei, but since Francis took over he goes to mass with the Jesuits.”
The Spanish foreign ministry, which has faced criticism for failing to take action against the ambassador earlier, said he had “burnt all his bridges” with the Belgian government, and admitted that he displayed similar behaviour during a previous posting to Nicaragua.
In a report to the foreign ministry, an inspector said the day-to-day management of the embassy was “paralysed by absenteeism and the head of mission’s negative attitude, the denial of any role for diplomatic personnel and a total absence of internal coordination.”
It has been an eventful few days for Spanish diplomats, with this latest humiliation following last week’s news that the country has recalled its ambassador to Venezuela, and following President Nicolas Maduro’s latest outburst against Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.