The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, has spoken with the new Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Félix Plasencia, as part of his round of contacts with representatives of the government of Nicolás Maduro and opposition leaders to contribute to the dialogue process initiated in Mexico.
As reported yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among the contacts maintained “in the last few hours” by the Foreign Minister were the Venezuelan Chargé d’Affaires in Spain, Mauricio Rodríguez Gelfenstein; the leader of Primero Justicia, Henrique Capriles; and Leopoldo López, of the Voluntad Popular party. Likewise, Albares spoke with the new Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Felix Plasencia. “The minister conveyed to all of them Spain’s willingness to help Venezuela and contribute to this negotiation process”, the Ministry added. Opposition sources contacted by The Diplomat could not specify the contents of these first contacts. Besides, the Venezuelan Government has not made any allusion to the conversation with Plasencia.
The round of contacts was announced last Monday by Albares himself during his appearance before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress of Deputies, in order to “have the broadest possible vision of how Spain can help this dialogue” opened days ago in Mexico. The Venezuelan government and opposition have scheduled a new meeting for today, Friday.
Albares had already announced last Wednesday his intention to receive Mauricio Rodríguez Gelfenstein (top representative of Nicolás Maduro’s government in Spain, since both countries have lowered the level of relations and do not have an ambassador in their respective capitals). Likewise, interviews were also arranged with Capriles and Leopoldo López, who has expressed his confidence that Albares can hold a telephone conversation with Juan Guaidó, a member of his same party and whom some countries such as the United States have recognized as the legitimate president of Venezuela (this is not the case of Spain).
With whom the interview was not announced was with Félix Plasencia, a friend of the former Spanish Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos, and who was involved in the so-called Delcygate. Plasencia was Minister of Tourism and Foreign Trade when, in January 2020, the Vice President of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, passed through Barajas airport, despite the EU sanction that prevented her transit through European territory and her meeting with Ábalos. Plasencia was in Madrid to participate in FITUR and also met with Ábalos, with whom she has been friends for years.
Spain has always supported dialogue as a way out of the Venezuelan crisis, insisting that Venezuelans should be the ones to decide their future. However, our country has not participated in the talks prior to the current dialogue process, in which Norway and the Netherlands have acted as mediators for the opposition and Russia for the Maduro regime. Spain is also not part of the Group of Friends of the process initiated, in which the United States is a member. The PP has reproached the Government for the fact that our country has been absent in the gestation of the dialogue process and this was pointed out to the Minister in his appearance on Monday.