Spain’s Secretary of State said Friday that the recent visit of former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez to Venezuela to meet with opposition groups was a “mistake and a failure.”
According to a statement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, José Manuel García Margallo said his “government considers the recent visit to Venezuela by ex-Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, which had the intention of joining factions from the political opposition, a mistake and a failure.”
Gonzalez, who served as president of the Spanish government from 1982-1996, was in Caracas in early June, where he sought to join the legal team of imprisoned politicians including Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma as a “technical adviser.”
Lopez and Ledezma are accused of organizing violent demonstrations that killed 43 people in February and March of 2014.
The visit was rejected by Venezuela government supporters who called for protests against his arrival and started a social media campaign with the slogan “Felipe Out.”
“How can a neoliberal Spaniard who bows to the monarchy pretend to give us lessons on democracy?” commented user “Foro Rebelde” on their Twitter account.
At the time, Spain’s Secretary of State for Tribunal Relations, Jose Luis Ayllon, gave Gonzalez his “full support,” contributing to a diplomatic row between the two countries.
Garcia, who was on a two-day stop-over visit in Caracas, “offered greetings from his government and the message of absolute respect for the government and the Venezuelan democracy, in the good spirit of brotherhood that should unite the peoples of Spain and Venezuela,” the statement says.