Yesterday, ABC published a story in which it claimed that the Venezuelan government had threatened to expropriate Spanish companies if the country’s media did not ease up its criticism of the Maduro government and of Podemos, a left-wing Spanish political party. Today, the Spanish Minister of External Affairs, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, commented on the story.

During a press conference he held alongside his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini, Margallo was asked what his thoughts on the story were. Margallo said that the companies in question told the Spanish government of the threat on Thursday, and that the Spanish embassy in Caracas was involved in discussions with the Venezuelan government regarding the matter.

Margallo also said that the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press are “inalienable” rights.

Syrian Gov’t Weighs in on Venezuela

The government of embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad voiced its support today for Maduro’s claims that the United States was directing coup attempts against Venezuela. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “vehemently” condemned what it considers to be continued coup attempts by the United States government. The same document called U.S. “conspiracies” part of a plan to remove Maduro from power.

Opposition Confident in 2015 Electoral Win

The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica released a written statement today in which it expressed its confidence in victory in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year. The MUD also said that it believed that the government was trying to foster a period of chaos that would lead to the outright banning of opposition parties. Part of the document reads:

The level of popular discontent cannot be ignored, and the impoverishment of important sectors of the population is unsustainable. The economic measures announced a few days ago by government spokespersons are the equivalent of a mega-devaluation of our currency. This is the reality in Venezuela today.

In the context of of this alarming scenario, instead of facing the problems the government has crated, Nicolas Maduro relies on scapegoats and threats.

He uses, without any evidence at all, stories about supposed foreign conspiracies and alleged destabilization plans to draw attention away from the true heart of the crisis. He threatens businesses and media outlets, both within and outside the country, in an attempt to hide his unpopularity and weakness. He threatens foreign governments and international organizations that have voiced their concern about the risks of the political crisis in Venezuela. He threatens those of us who argue that change must be peaceful, democratic, constitutional and electoral. 

Gov’t: Conspirator Escaped to Panama

The Ambassador of Venezuela to Panama, Jorge Luis Duran Centeno, said today that one of the air force officers accused by Maduro last week of attempting to launch a coup has fled the country and is currently hiding in Panama. Centeo said that Eduardo Figueroa is one of three men implicated in the coup who managed to escape the country, while ten others have been arrested.

Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

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