Maduro receives letters of credence from the Spanish ambassador

CARACAS (HPD) — Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro received the credentials of the new Spanish ambassador in Caracas on Tuesday as part of the normalization of diplomatic relations. It has been more than two years since the position became vacant after the departure in 2020 of the Spanish ambassador Jesús Silva.

The Spanish authorities last December appointed Ramón Santos Martínez as ambassador, who since October 2021 became the highest-ranking person in the diplomatic service in this South American country, when he replaced Juan Fernández Trigo as business manager.

Fernández Trigo had been at the head of the Spanish diplomatic mission after the departure of Ambassador Silva in November 2020, amid strained relations between the governments of Caracas and Madrid.

Spain recently gave its approval to Coromoto Godoy as Venezuela’s ambassador in Madrid. The appointments came after Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, stated in November that the decision to withdraw his ambassador was “liable to be reversed”, after the resumption of talks between the Maduro government and a delegation of the opposition

After completing the formal process, Maduro and Santos Martínez -former ambassador of Spain in Bolivia (2008-2012) and in Panama (2015-2019)- shook hands and talked. There were no statements to the press.

The previous Spanish ambassador was the target of severe criticism from Maduro, who labeled him as “racist” and “coupist”. He accused him in 2019 of being one of those responsible for the flight of the Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López to Spain.

López, who was sentenced in 2015 to almost 14 years in prison accused of promoting violent protests in Caracas, took refuge in the Spanish diplomatic headquarters after the unsuccessful rebellion of the opposition with the support of part of the military on April 30, 2019. Then he traveled to Madrid, where he met with his relatives.

Maduro then also harshly criticized the president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, who met in Madrid with López. He expressed that the Spanish president was “quite uninformed about Venezuela.”

López spent more than three years in the Ramo Verde military prison, on the outskirts of Caracas, and in 2017 he was transferred to his home under house arrest, from where he left in the midst of the opposition attack in 2019.

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