Sánchez calls out Podemos over links to ‘Chavismo’

PSOE's Pedro Sánchez (left); ex-Socialist PM Zapatero attempts Venezuela mediation with Nicolás Maduro. Images: Antena3
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• Socialist says Podemos’ Venezuela ties ‘fair game’ for political debate in Spain
• Venezuela entered political debate in Spain ‘hand-in-hand with Pablo Iglesias’

The leader of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, has criticized rival anti-austerity party Podemos and its leadership for so far failing to fully explain to the Spanish public its close ties to the left-wing regime of the late-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his successor, current President Nicolás Maduro.

The comments, made during an interview Tuesday on Antena3 television’s morning Espejo Público programme (see video below), come in the run-up to Spain’s second-round general election on 26th June (26-J). They also follow high-profile, unsuccessful attempts by former Spanish Socialist leaders Felipe González and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to mediate the ongoing political crisis in the South American country, and as the leader of Spain’s centre-right Ciudadanos party Albert Rivera visited Caracas on Tuesday to meet with Venezuelan legislators and opposition leaders.

Responding to a question about Venezuela at the end of the 30-minute interview, Sánchez said: “Podemos people ask why we talk about Venezuela and it’s because Venezuela entered into Spanish politics hand-in-hand with [Pablo] Iglesias, the financing of the foundation [Fundación Centro de Estudios Políticos y Sociales, CEPS] linked to Podemos, all those videos posted to the Internet and YouTube with [Podemos co-founders Pablo] Iglesias and [Juan Carlos] Monedero speaking about and praising the regime of Chavez and Maduro. The person who introduced Venezuela into the politics of Spain has been Iglesias.”

As the 26-J election campaign is poised to begin, Sánchez said that “what Mr. Iglesias has to explain, first of all, is that financing, and secondly how it is possible that he defines [formerly jailed Basque separatist leader] Arnaldo Otegi as a political prisoner and on the other hand refuses to condemn the imprisonment of political prisoners in Venezuela.”

► Read More in Spanish at Antena3 and Europa Press …

► Read More in English at The Irish Times …


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