The Spanish government has reiterated its position over the current situation in Venezuela: a free election must be held "immediately". That's what foreign minister Josep Borrell had to say in the press conference after today's cabinet meeting. If Nicolás Maduro doesn't plan on holding an election, he warned, Spain would propose other measures to the European Union, like recognising Juan Guaidó as interim president.
The minister gave no deadline, but said "it cannot stretch out too long", indeed it must be "necessarily short". The government hopes that Maduro will take the step but says that any election must enjoy "all guarantees".
Otherwise, Spain will push for the EU to adopt other measures, like recognising the legitimacy of National Assembly president Juan Guaidó to call an immediate "free, just and credible" election, arguing that last year's presidential election didn't meet those criteria. This is the proposal "led by Spain" that's being discussed in this Friday's meeting of the EU Political and Security Committee.
"We're trying to avoid more violence and confrontation, but neither can it be an excuse for the continuation of the regime," the minister warned. When asked directly who is currently the president of Venezuela, Borrell dodged the issue, saying that "you'd need to do a masters in international law".
Meeting of deputies
On the meeting in Barcelona this Friday afternoon between the Spanish deputy PM Carmen Calvo and Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès and spokesminister Elsa Artadi, spokesminister Isabel Celaá didn't want to comment beyond saying that "it's a very important meeting".
She wanted to give no details on plans for a round table of political parties to discuss the Catalan conflict which the two governments agreed to discuss in Madrid last week. Madrid wants it to involve Spain-wide parties, not just Catalan ones. Celaá said: "I think that [talks] are progressing, it's very important and we continue determining and firming up the political dialogue which is what we've been preparing since June".
As for the crisis within Podemos, Celaá expressed confidence it will have no effect on the party's support for PSOE's budget. "It's solid, committed and broad support and we think that [the split] shouldn't have any repercussions [on it]," she said.
This Friday's cabinet meeting saw the ministers agree to ask Brazilian authorities for the extradition of Carlos García Juliá, one of those behind the 1977 neofascist Atocha massacre in the offices of a law firm specialising in labour law.