Point of view
"Rajoy, you are a coward. Come to Venezuela and hold your election debate here."
What is happening?
There has been more fighting talk from the President of crisis-hit Venezuela.
Nicolas Maduro has accused Spain of waging a propaganda war, aimed at provoking a real armed conflict between Caracas and Madrid.
Speaking to a gathering of university students, Maduro said negative stories about the crisis-hit country are featuring every day in the Spanish press.
He claims this amounts to a propaganda war and says Spain is preparing to ask NATO about military intervention in Venezuela.
There is no concrete evidence to support Maduro’s claims.
Why has Maduro said this now?
Relations between the two countries have recently become more tense.
Spain’s national security council met in Madrid on Friday.
A general election – the second since last December – is due to be held on June 26th.
What did Maduro accuse Spain of?
- Waging a propaganda war in the Spanish press
- Manipulation and lies about Venezuela
- Preparing a request for military intervention
He challenged Mariano Rajoy to hold an election debate in Caracas between the main candidates.
Maduro also hinted that he may stand for election as the spanish leader himself.
“They (Spanish politicians) have gone beyond ridiculous. They are making fools of themselves. Rajoy, you are a coward, come to Venezuela and hold your debate, I will participate, maybe I will even stand for president in Spain and win.”
Why would Maduro come out and say this?
Venezuela is in the grip of a severe economic crisis.
The fall in the oil price has hit the country – a key producer – hard.
There are chronic shortages of basics like food and medicine.
Venezuela has the highest inflation in the world. Latest estimates from the IMF predict the rate could increase by 481% this year.
Polls suggest the majority of people in the country want Nicolas Maduro out of office.
Protest of students against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, #Venezuela #photography #AFP
afpphoto</a> <a href="https://t.co/Kar3o8izSS">pic.twitter.com/Kar3o8izSS</a></p>— Ronaldo Schemidt (rschemidt) May 26, 2016
ABC News (
abcnews) <a href="https://twitter.com/abcnews/status/733061065366347776">May 18, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="es" dir="ltr">Venezuela police fire tear gas, block anti-Maduro protest in Caracas <a href="https://t.co/pcGBQBHY5w">https://t.co/pcGBQBHY5w</a> <a href="https://t.co/dkpjG88JlO">pic.twitter.com/dkpjG88JlO</a></p>— AFP news agency (AFP) May 18, 2016