CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blasted Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday for advocating early elections in the Andean nation.
“I shouldn’t opine or meddle in the internal matters of Spain, or of Catalonia,” Maduro said, referring to the separatist movement in that northeastern Spanish regime.
“I don’t meddle. But you, Mariano Rajoy, get your nose out of Venezuela,” the leftist president said from Miraflores palace a day after the domestic opposition held an unofficial referendum to oppose his plans for a constitutional convention.
“For Mariano Rajoy, a referendum parallel to the state, to the constitution, is legal ... but the referendum the people of Catalonia want to decide their status is not legal,” Maduro said.
Madrid, along with most European governments and the United States, was supportive of the vote held by the Venezuelan opposition.
Earlier Monday, the European Union’s top foreign policy official said Caracas should “suspend” the Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution, suggesting that Venezuela could face EU sanctions if Maduro refused to change course.
Maduro urged Rajoy to concentrate on “the tragedy Spain is experiencing, of unemployment, of disappointment, growing poverty.”