Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez spoke today on her Spanish counterpart’s statements yesterday regarding the recent Venezuelan request to Spanish companies.
The Spanish government has way too many problems to look after. The neediest [Spanish people] would die for a roof over their heads to house their hopes.
I suggest to you, Mr. Chancellor, to look after those issues instead of paying homage to the tyrannical media that looks to subdue us… Venezuela must be respected.
Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Garcia-Margallo expressed his concern about the situation after media reports that the Venezuelan government threatened Spanish companies in Venezuela with expropriation if they did not pressure Spanish media to take a softer stance against the Maduro government.
Today, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, Jose Manuel Soria, said that the Venezuelan threats were “absolutely intolerable”, and said that the Spanish government is worried about the “situation in general” in Venezuela.
New Details on Meeting Emerge
The meeting between Spanish business leaders and Venezuelan officials took place last Thursday at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas. While Spain’s ABC broke the story on Sunday, it did not provide the names of the Venezuelan officials involved in the meeting.
Today, EFE reported that Vice-President Jorge Arreaza, Vice-Minister for European Relations Calixto Ortega and the President of the Foreign Commerce Corporation, Ramon Gordils were the Venezuelan officials present at the meeting. EFE also reported the names of the Spanish corporations summoned to the meeting, a list identical to the one reported by ABC, plus one more name: Zara.
Maduro Really Upset by Cartoon
A political cartoon published in the Colombian magazine Semana has really upset Maduro, who called it part of a media campaign against Venezuela.
The drawing, created by political cartoonist Vladimir Florez (also known as Vladdo) can be seen below:
The drawing features the Venezuelan coat of arms on the upper left, and a re-imagined version of it in the centre. The white horse, laurel leaves and bushels of wheat are dried up, while the white horse is sickly and starving. The captions beneath the coat of arms read, “‘God will Provide'” (a now infamous Maduro-ism), “Autosuicide” (another Maduro-ism, borrowed from former president Carlos Andres Perez), “Scarcity” and “Inflation”.
Vladdo spoke in defence of the cartoon today, saying:
What Maduro said were a bunch of really quirky things, and they’d be really funny if not for the fact that the President [Maduro] spent ten minutes talking about a cartoon and complaining about an alleged conspiracy against him and Venezuela by Colombian – which is fiction, and the result of the persecution complex he suffers from – instead of working to solve Venezuela’s problems.
Voluntad Popular Calls for March Tomorrow
Tomorrow, February 18, marks the one year anniversary of Leopoldo Lopez’s arrest. Lopez has been held in the Ramo Verde military facility since then. His arrest and detention have received widespread criticism from international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.
To mark the day, Voluntad Popular has called for its supporters to attend a rally tomorrow in the Jose Marti in Chacaito, Caracas, the site of Lopez’s arrest. The rally will be attended by a number of opposition figures. Venezuelans who cannot attend the rally but would like to support Lopez are asked to dress in white tomorrow.
The call was made by Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, who said:
One year ago, Leopoldo faced-off against the regime, and asked all of us to dress in white as a sign of peace. This February 18, dress in white, and place a white sheet outside your window, because we want freedom, justice and democracy. Free Leopoldo!
Tintori took her message to the gates of Ramo Verde today, where she took this picture:
Voluntad Popular‘s political coordinator, Freddy Guevara, spoke on the widespread international support the Lopez case has gathered, saying:
Everyone knows that if Leopoldo wasn’t innocent, none of these organisms or people would have called for his release. Do you think that the Pope, Nobel laureates, ex-presidents, intellectuals, governments, parliaments, the United Nations, and the most prestigious international human rights organizations would defend a guilty person? No. They defend just causes, just leaders. What bothers Maduro is that while Leopoldo counts on the support of the Pope, the United Nations and human rights organizations, no one supports him. Neither the people nor the international sycophants who don’t like him anymore now that the oil money has dried up. Maduro is only supported by the corrupt, and he is sustained only by force and repression.