Aznar 'backed' right-wing coup in Venezula
23 November 2004, MADRID-A furious political row has blown up over claims by Spain's foreign secretary that the former government supported a failed coup d'etat in Venezuela.
23 November 2004
MADRID-A furious political row has blown up over claims by Spain's foreign secretary that the former government supported a failed coup d'etat in Venezuela.
The head of the Opposition, conservative Popular Party (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy, demanded foreign secretary Migeul Angel Moratinos withdrew the comments.
Moratinos claimed the former PP government of Jose Maria Aznar had backed the coup d'etat to overthrow the marverick left-wing president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Moratinos made the comments during a television programme.
Chavez, who is on a two-day visit to Spain, later supported the claims.
Moratinos said the Aznar government supported the failed coup d'etat in April 2002 which was backed by the US.
Chávez said the affair was a "shame" as it did not represent the feeling of the Spanish people.
He said relations between the two countries had "turned a new page" since the arrival of the Socialist government.
Rajoy has demanded the Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero force his foreign secretary to retract the comments.
Rajoy said: "The government should reconsider if Moratinos is suitable to assume high responsibility."
He added Zapatero should make his position clear on what he called this "diplomatic incident".
The PP leader claimed it was more than the "erratic" behaviour of the government in foreign affairs and that many Spaniards were worried Zapatero's international alliances.
Rajoy added that Chavez should explain himself before leaving Spain, and explain comments that members of the Basque separatist terrorist group ETA were in Venezuela.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news