New York Times: Venezuela Casts a Long Shadow on Elections in Spain
MADRID — Europe is facing a migration crisis, the threat of Islamic terrorism and the prospect that Britain will exit the European Union. But the big foreign policy issue before Spain’s national elections next Sunday? Venezuela, of course.
Candidates have visited Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, to grandstand. Spain’s governing conservative party has met in Madrid with opponents of Venezuela’s leftist government. There have been charges of a virtual Venezuelan infiltration of Spain’s politics.
The shadow cast by Venezuela has been so long that its president, Nicolás Maduro, recently invited Spain’s politicians to hold their election debate in Caracas “so that I can also participate, and perhaps I will win the elections in Spain.”
It may seem a little odd, given the host of problems facing Spain. But the reason is simple. After six months of political deadlock and inconclusive elections in December, the only sign of change before Spain’s election redo is the growing strength of Podemos, the far-left party whose leaders once served as advisers to the former government of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.
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WNU Editor: Like Italy and Greece ... I have always found Spain's willingness to vote for politicians and political parties who love to spend the public purse and run-up debts continuously as either a cultural thing .... or an example of my rule that if you make a mistake you are a philosopher, but if you do it again you are an idiot. But I do understand why Spanish voters are frustrated. After the financial/debt collapse of 2008 that destroyed the economy and the government's finances and now 8 years of austerity .... this is driving people to embrace parties like Podemos. But if they think Podemos is their salvation for a better utopia .... they are going to be shocked. My prediction .... linking far left politicians to the mess in Venezuela is not a winning position for the People's Party .... I see political gridlock continuing in Spain.