The Spanish Government’s Business Ties With Venezuelan Regime
“Madrid is as responsible as Russia or China for assisting the Maduro regime.”
The Spanish government is currently involved in a scandal that should cost the Transport Minister his job and have serious legal consequences not only for him but also for the PSOE for violating sanctions imposed by the European Union on members of the Maduro regime.
The criminal Delcy Rodríguez, who is banned from entering the Schengen area, spent the early hours of January 20 at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport. According to El País, Maduro’s vice-president was in the VIP lounges of the executive terminal before taking a commercial flight to Doha (Qatar).
So the vice-president of the dictatorship that starves Venezuelans traveled calmly through Barajas and even passed a ticket control to get on the flight that took her out of Spain. The fact that she passed through Madrid was not formally recorded, and, of course, she was not arrested for setting foot on Spanish territory.
The sanctions imposed by the European Union prohibit Rodríguez from entering the Schengen territory and transiting through any EU airport. Accordingly, the criminal should have been immediately deported to the country of origin of her flight. Instead, the woman boarded a flight to wherever she wanted.
However, also in violation of the EU sanctions, the transport minister, none other than the third in command of the PSOE, went in the early hours of the morning to talk to Rodríguez. Jose Luis Ábalos has said, after many versions, that he entered the criminal’s private plane, told her that she cannot set foot on Spanish soil, that Rodríguez was in “transit,” and that he does not know how she made the switch to the aircraft that finally brought her to Turkey.
All this is a scandal, but among the fundamental issues at stake, we must ask why Delcy Rodríguez has so much power in Spain. It was clear that this story was going to be exposed. You can’t just walk up to Maduro’s right-hand at Barajas airport and have the secretary and third in command of the governing party meet her and hope that nobody finds out. They did not care what was coming; Delcy is more important. They had to receive her and help her in her “transit.”
Here, we are not talking about ideological affinities. This is not a generous help to a friend who shares ideas. We are talking about business. Business so lucrative that it even compensates for the problems of violating the sanctions imposed by the European Union and being the main topic of national and international media that report how the Spanish government helps a criminal.
There are different types of businesses between the PSOE-Podemos coalition and the high commands of Maduro. For example, we could start by talking about the millions paid by Chavismo to Podemos, but that seems to be “peanuts” compared to other issues in which the PSOE would be directly involved.
It is also important to remember that in April of last year, Juan Carlos Peinado, the chief justice of Madrid’s 41st Court, opened a legal case against high ranking officials of the Venezuelan tyranny for “laundering” money from Venezuela in Spain. Among those being investigated are Delcy Rodríguez, current vice-president of Nicolás Maduro, and her brother Jorge Rodríguez, minister of communication. According to El Confidencial, the “money laundering” network could have laundered 500 million euros in Spain through different businesses.
But the issue of money laundering’ in Spain, as well as the numerous accusations that the European country has become a haven for corrupt people who stole millions of dollars in Venezuela, do not seem to be the most pressing issues. At least, I do not think they are the fundamental reasons why Delcy has the power to land in Spain, meet with the third in command of the governing party, and spend the night in the country despite being banned from entering the European Union.
In September last year, Bloomberg reported that “the Maduro regime moves its money through the Bank of Spain.” The article reads:
As a growing number of banks around the world refuse to move money on President Nicolás Maduro’s behalf, Venezuela has found an ally in the Bank of Spain, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
At a time when U.S. sanctions have prompted many banks to shy away from transactions with the tyrannical regime, Venezuela’s central bank is increasingly relying on the Spanish Central Bank to transfer and receive funds abroad.
A month later, in October, Bloomberg was already reporting that officials in the Trump administration were pushing for financial sanctions against Spain for “financial support of Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela.”
The report said that according to sources, the U.S. Treasury Department was considering sanctions against Spain’s central bank and measures against other entities where Venezuelan money is parked. Spanish officials had already been warned about the potential action.
Bloomberg also reported that at a meeting in Madrid, Elliott Abrams, the U.S. special representative for Venezuela, said that the Spanish government needs to do more about Venezuelan money coming into Spain and pushed Madrid to freeze Venezuelan assets. However, according to sources cited by the American publication, the Spaniards replied that private banks and the central bank were monitoring for money laundering but weren’t going to freeze assets without concrete evidence.
So the Spanish government, despite being warned of possible sanctions by the United States as it is collaborating with Maduro’s regime, decides not to act, to look the other way, and to continue its relations with high ranking Venezuelans like Rodríguez. It is easy to imagine how “profitable” these businesses are for them to decide to run the risk of being sanctioned and confronting the United States.
The statements in the Bloomberg article are straightforward: “One senior U.S. official pushing for the action said Madrid deserves as much blame for aiding and abetting the Maduro regime as Russia and China. The government of Pedro Sánchez has become a major ally of the tyranny that is starving Venezuelans to death.
Besides the Central Bank’s relations with Rodríguez and others, the PSOE-Podemos coalition has played a fundamental role in Europe in favor of Maduro and his supporters. According to Bloomberg, “those in favor of the move (sanctions on Spain) argue that acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government is preventing the European Union from taking more punitive measures against Maduro.”
Therefore, it does not seem strange to me that the lawsuit brought by Podemos and Izquierda Unida before the Spanish Supreme Court against Vox MEP Hermann Tertsch, is not so much because of his sensible and necessary statements against the Socialists in Catalonia, but instead because of his fundamental role in denouncing to the European Parliament what is happening in Venezuela and the criminal nature of Maduro’s tyranny. “The policy of the European Union has not helped to combat the dictatorship but to consolidate it,” he has insisted time and again in the parliament. As Bloomberg rightly says, the Spanish government is dedicated to preventing sanctions against people like Rodríguez.
The PSOE long conceded to the Rodríguezes and friends
It is embarrassing that Delcy Rodríguez can land and walk around Madrid airport until she takes her commercial flight after a minister has met her. It also calls the attention of the press because of the circus that the PSOE has put on trying to get out of the problem they have gotten themselves into. However, the Spanish government has already made it clear which side it is on.
Rodríguez’s business in Spain is so valuable to the PSOE that they don’t care about the U.S. threatening sanctions, much less about what a progressive European Union says about how sanctions against the Venezuelan criminal were bypassed.
The PSOE-Podemos coalition is entirely at the service of Rodríguez and friends. There’s a lot of money behind this. Spaniards should be scared. Their government is building relationships that are too dangerous.
For now, as in many cases, we look to the U.S. and hope that it will move forward with facts, knowing that the Spanish government is a key ally of the Venezuelan tyranny.