Venezuela's Foreign Ministry has issued the “strongest condemnation” of remarks made by Spain's President Mariano Rajoy, in statement released late Thursday.
Rajoy’s remarks came after a meeting with Lilian Tintori, wife of the extreme right-wing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Lopez was arrested after his role in a wave of violence in Venezuela that sought to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro, and that left 43 dead and over 1000 injured.
Rajoy expressed concern about the trial of Lopez. He added that Venezuela should respect the right of people to protest in a peaceful way, in remarks that ignored the wave of right-wing opposition violence.
Through a statement released late Thursday, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said that Rajoy's declarations were “interventionist, irresponsible, and disrespectful.”
It adds that these sought “to encourage and promote a political agenda to destabilize our country” through false statements about “our legal system, social life and functioning of our democracy, ” and that this “violates the principle of non-interference and respect for sovereignty”.
“For our government it is unacceptable that due to his relationship with Venezuela's far-right organizations, Mr. Rajoy intervenes in an independent judicial process,” said the Foreign Ministry.
In the statement, the Venezuelan government noted that Rajoy's party, the conservative Popular Party (PP), also supported the attempted military coup against then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2002, when PP's José María Aznar was President of Spain. It explains that the coup attempt "sought to break the constitutional order and plunge our people into a spiral of violence” that would have led to the kind of “dictatorial regimes similar to those suffered by the Spanish people in the past”. The PP has historic ties to ministers in the government of Spanish dictator General Franco.
The ministry said that “Mr. Rajoy's actions are carried out without the support of the majority of the Spanish people,” and encouraged Rajoy to focus on resolving Spain's disastrous economic situation. Spain has an unemployment rate of over 23 percent, and more than 50 percent among young people.
The statement concluded by reiterating Venezuela’s “friendship and deep affection for the Spanish people and its regions, as well as our commitment to the principle of non-interference, mutual respect, and inviolability of the sovereignty of the States as a fundamental principle of international relations.”