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Spain summons Venezuela ambassador over Maduro ‘insults’

Spain’s foreign ministry on Wednesday summoned Venezuela’s ambassador in Madrid to protest against comments made by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro describing Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as “a racist”.

“The government considers that these statements, insults and threats made by president Maduro against Spain are intolerable,” the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said Venezuela’s ambassador to Spain, Mario Isea, was told of Spain’s “dislike and rejection” of Maduro’s remarks.

Maduro hit out at Spain on Tuesday after Spanish lawmakers passed a motion calling on Venezuela, a former Spanish colony, to release opposition leaders.

Maduro slammed the move as “an act of aggression by corrupt Spanish elites” and called Rajoy “a racist”.

He also accused the Spanish parliament of interfering in Venezuela’s affairs and recommended it “should look after its mother”.

Venezuela’s treatment of opposition figures is a routine source of tension between Madrid and Caracas.

Venezuela recalled its ambassador to Spain for consultations in February after Rajoy met with Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopold Lopez.

The following month Rajoy met with Mitzy Capriles, the wife of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, who has also been jailed in what Venezuelan opposition figures said was the latest crackdown on criticism of Maduro’s left-wing government.