Buenos Aires Times


A spat over Venezuela complicates talks for new Spain government

Spain has deepened its involvement in the Venezuela crisis after opening up its Embassy in Caracas to Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López.

Monday 6 May, 2019
High-profile Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López speaks with the press outside the Spanish Embassy in Caracas.
High-profile Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López speaks with the press outside the Spanish Embassy in Caracas. Foto:Bloomberg

More Latin america News

The botched uprising in Venezuela is having a surprising but tangible effect on politics all the way over in Spain.

By allowing the opposition leader Leopoldo López to seek refuge as a “guest” in its Embassy in Caracas, Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has chosen to deepen its involvement with the tortured situation in a way that’s not to the liking of possible partners.

After his Socialists won the most seats in elections held April 28, Sánchez still needs the support of the anti-establishment party Podemos to be able to form a government. The trouble is that Podemos’s leader Pablo Iglesias thinks the attempt by Juan Guaidó, with López at his side, to seize power on Tuesday amounted to an attempted coup.

“Guaidó doesn’t want free elections – he wants a coup d’état that provokes an intervention by Donald Trump and a bloodbath in Venezuela,” Iglesias said on Wednesday. He also thinks Sánchez made a mistake by recognising Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president.

Sánchez is due to hold talks with political leaders, including Iglesias, next week as he starts to explore his options to form a government.

Meanwhile, tensions continue to rise in Caracas with a court on Wednesday ordering the arrest of López. Spain said it wouldn’t hand him over. It’s also pressing for immediate elections and repeating its call for the situation not to descend into a bloodbath.

It’s comparatively rare for a foreign policy issue to become a significant event in Spanish domestic politics but the Venezuela issue is one, said Antonio Barroso, managing director for Europe at Teneo Intelligence in London.

Even so, it’s unlikely to have much influence for now on the process of forming a new government, said Barroso. What is clear is that by welcoming López into its ambassador’s home in Caracas, Spain has raised the stakes by choosing to become more involved in the unstable politics of Venezuela.


Charles Penty


Top Stories

  1. 1BlackRock bets on 'cheap' markets in Brazil and ArgentinaBlackRock bets on 'cheap' markets in Brazil and Argentina
  2. 2Camila Morrone: the Argentine model-turned-actress taking Cannes by storm
  3. 3Doctor found guilty of impeding abortion faces 2 years in jail for misconduct
  4. 4Scaloni delivers a shock as he names Argentina's squad for Copa América
  5. 5CFK calls corruption trial 'a smokescreen' as she prepares to sit in the dock
  6. 6CFK sits through dramatic allegations of corruption in first trial
  7. 7Roberto Lavagna makes up his mind: 'I am a candidate for president'
  8. 8Argentina’s goddess of strife
  9. 9CGT leadership announces 24-hour strike for May 29
  10. 10Argentina poised to export first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas