Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez met today with Spanish ambassador Antonio Perez Hernandez in Caracas, and urged his government to respect Venezuela. After the meeting, Rodriguez said:
I read him some interventionist comments [from Spain], one by one. I kept pointing out to him which international principle his government was violating. We’re calling on the Spanish government to respect the sovereignty of Venezuela.
Last night, Maduro raised eyebrows when he called Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy “really racist”, and told the Spanish government to “give opinions about your mothers” but not about Venezuela in response to a recent statement from the Spanish congress asking for the release of political prisoners in the country.
Rodriguez also echoed comments from Maduro that hinted at measures to be taken against Madrid:
Soon, we will make public the measures [Venezuela will take against Spain], and in due time we will also make known the status of our review of relations between the two countries.
CNE Promises Election Clarification Soon
Tibisay Lucena, the president of the Consejo Nacional Electoral [National Electoral Council, the body which oversees elections in Venezuela] spoke to the media today regarding the parliamentary elections that are supposed to take place later this year. As of today, the CNE has not clarified the timeline for the elections, leaving many Venezuelans wondering whether they would take place at all.
We’ve taken every measure [to hold] parliamentary elections in 2015. I don’t know where [the rumours that the elections won’t be held] are coming from.
The PSUV and the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica are expected to hold primaries in the coming month, Lucena explained. The primary election process for MUD candidates will take place on May 17.
CENCOEX Adjusts Online Shopping Changes
The Centro Nacional de Comercio Exterior [National Centre for Foreign Commerce], the body responsible for regulating foreign exchange in Venezuela, relaxed one the changes it made to the exchange process last week.
On Friday, the government announced that moving forward, Venezuelans who wanted to buy items online had a spending limit of $300 per year. Within that limit, Venezuelans could only spend $100 every four months.
Today, CENCOEX announced that the $100-per-trimester limit would be scratched effective immediately, meaning that Venezuelans can now spend up to $300 in a single purchase per year.
First Lady Gets T.V. Show
Cilia Flores, Venezuela’s First Lady, is set to star in her very own television show. While the name of the show has not been announced, Maduro announced its theme:
[Cilia] has accepted [the invitation] to start a weekly, hour-long program where she will show the revolution through the eyes of a woman who is a mother.
Flores is following in the footsteps of her husband, whose television show is called En Contacto con Maduro. The second most powerful man in the county, PSUV vice-president and National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, also has a television show, called Con El Mazo Dando.
The tradition of having one’s own television show started with Hugo Chavez, whose television show Alo, Presidente ran for nearly twelve years.
It’s telling that almost immediately after returning from the Summit of the Americas, Maduro has decided to (as he himself put it) “to fight against Madrid” over a non-issue. Maduro was able to stretch the spat with Washington for weeks, making an impressive amount of noise in an attempt to distract Venezuelans from their actual problems.
Now that the issue with the United States has resolved itself – that is to say, ended up in nothing because it was nothing – Maduro has been forced to find another red herring.
Maduro is throwing a fit because the Spanish government issued a statement regarding Venezuela. According to Maduro, respect is sacrosanct: respect between peoples and between governments. His mantra, “Venezuela se respeta!” [“Venezuela must be respected”] has become a regular part of his vocabulary in recent weeks. In classic fashion, Maduro has responded to the perceived insults from Spain by personally insulting the Spanish Prime Minister, calling him “really racist”, and by calling the entire Spanish government “a racist elite”.
Once Maduro has saved Venezuelan sovereignty and dignity from this latest assault, he will no doubt go riding forth against the next aggressor, insults in hand.