Maduro Slams Arrest of Catalan Government, Spain Calls Meeting with Ambassador

Spain’s Foreign Relations Ministry called a meeting with Venezuela’s ambassador after President Nicolas Maduro accused the Mariano Rajoy administration of holding members of the Catalan government as political prisoners.

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

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Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez
Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez were arrested Monday on charges of sedition. They potentially face fifteen years in jail. (Jordi Cuixart)
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Bogota, October 18, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Spain’s Foreign Ministry called a meeting with Venezuela’s ambassador this Wednesday after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the Mariano Rajoy administration of holding members of the Catalan government as political prisoners.

“The government of Spain has no morality, it repressed the people of Catalonia, arrested the president of the ANC [Catalan National Assembly], imprisoned two of the leaders of Catalan civil society, holds political prisoners and persecutes the people of Catalonia,” Maduro told press Tuesday.

The Venezuelan president was referring to the Spanish government’s arrest of Jordi Sànchez, head of the Catalan National Assembly, and Jordi Cuixart, head of the Omnium Cultural association, on charges of sedition Monday, as well as the detention of 14 members of the Catalan government on September 20. 

The Catalan government held an independence referendum on October 1. However, the initiative was considered illegal by Madrid. Rajoy sent Spanish security forces to repress the plebiscite in a crackdown that was condemned by observers around the world. 

In an official statement published Wednesday, Spain’s Foreign Relations Ministry said that it “totally rejected” Maduro’s statements and called them “unacceptable”. It also summoned Mario Isea, Venezuela’s ambassador to Spain, to a meeting.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been an outspoken critic of the Venezuelan government since taking office in 2011 and has spearheaded recent efforts within the Europe Union to sanction members of the Venezuelan government. He has accused the Nicolas Maduro of holding political prisoners on several occasions. 

“Peace, democracy and the liberty of political prisoners must be unbreakable. Spain is with Venezuela,” tweeted the Spanish prime minister in early August.