The vice president of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, never legally entered Spanish territory during her stopover last Monday at Madrid’s Barajas airport, according to both government and police sources. Rodríguez is prohibited from entering European Union (EU) territory as part of the sanctions agreed by Brussels against the regime of Nicolás Maduro for his repressive policy and the absence of democratic freedoms in that country.
The scale in Madrid of the number two de Maduro, who came from Caracas and had as a final destination Turkey, has been at the center of the political controversy in Spain after knowing that during his stay at the airport he met with the Minister of Transportation and organizational secretary of the PSOE, José Luis Ábalos. Opposition parties have launched a parliamentary offensive to demand explanations from the minister. Ábalos says that his meeting with Rodriguez, after midnight on Sunday, was purely casual since he had gone to the airport only to receive the Venezuelan Minister of Tourism, Felix Plasencia, who was traveling on the same plane as the vice president but stayed in Madrid to attend the international tourism fair Fitur. Ábalos argues that his reception at Plasencia was purely personal, since both have long been friends.
Police sources explained that the plane in which Rodriguez, Plasencia and other members of the vice president’s advisory team traveled in Madrid made a “technical ladder” for the mandatory rest of the crew and refueling of the plane, from the company Sky Valet. As the vice president, according to the same sources, did not enter what is legally considered Spanish territory, the police limited themselves to “providing protection and guaranteeing the security” of personalities. Foreign Ministry sources spread the same version. According to the activity log of the plane, it landed in Barajas at 0.12 pm on Monday after a trip of almost nine hours from Caracas. He left Madrid for Istanbul at 14.42.
The controversy over the meeting of Ábalos with the number two Maduro takes place on the eve of the arrival in Madrid of the Venezuelan leader Juan Guaidó, recognized as president of the country by the majority of the international community in front of the group that maintains the Government. Guaidó will meet this Saturday with the Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, and will receive the tribute of the community of Venezuelan exiles, as well as the City Council and the Autonomous Government of Madrid, both in the hands of a coalition between PP and Citizens. The center-right parties have criticized the president of the Government for not receiving Guaido himself.