MADRID – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro should spend more time forming a democratic nation rather than criticizing Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for suggesting the South American country needed fresh elections, the Spanish government spokesman said on Tuesday.
During an interview with state broadcaster TVE, Iñigo Mendez de Vigo reacted to a statement made by Maduro in which he criticized Rajoy and told him to keep his nose out of internal affairs.
“What President Maduro should do is listen to his people and make Venezuela a democracy like Spain, without political prisoners and without the repression of protests,” De Vigo said.
Maduro had criticized Rajoy for allegedly backing an unofficial referendum – staged by the opposition in Venezuela – that resulted in a landslide rejection of government policies, all the while refusing to recognize the legality of an independence referendum slated for October in Spain’s prosperous Catalonia region.
The central government in Madrid views that break-away bid as unconstitutional.
Rajoy, who leads the conservative Popular Party, has on numerous occasions expressed his opinion on the situation in Venezuela, where the socialist government is facing daily protests.
Dozens of people have died in clashes with Venezuelan security forces loyal to Maduro who, in turn, denounces the demonstrations as an attempted coup d’etat.
Meanwhile, protesters and opposition politicians maintain that Maduro is trying to stage a full power-grab.