The Trump administration is pushing forward financial sanctions against Spain for what is considered support for the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela,” Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous government sources.
According to information provided by the news agency, the US Treasury is exploring the possibility of “actions against the central bank of Spain” and other Spanish financial institutions in which, in its opinion, Venezuela has invested.
It later turned out that neither the American authorities nor the US Embassy in Madrid had considered the possibility of imposing sanctions against Spain for economic ties with Venezuela, official Spanish sources told Sputnik.
“Both the US authorities in Washington and the US embassy in Madrid deny that they ever thought of such a measure,” the Spanish Foreign Ministry told Sputnik.
The US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, met with Spanish authorities but did not discuss sanctions with them, although he insisted that Spain should block Venezuela's bank accounts more actively. To this Spain replied that the authorities would confine themselves to routine monitoring to prevent money laundering. (Benitez's words)
Sputnik spoke to Armando Fernández Steinko, professor of Sociology at the Complutense University in Spain.
Sputnik: If such sanctions are nevertheless imposed, what will this mean for partnership between the United States and Spain?
Armando Fernández Steinko: This is fascinating stupidity. The United States has recently imposed sanctions, even on friendly countries, on partner countries, which poses a threat to the United States in the long run. They're pushing these countries to unite with each other to oppose the policies of Donald Trump.
Spain obviously has interests in Venezuela. There are many multinational companies Spain is participating in. There are many people with Spanish-Venezuelan dual citizenship, many people send assets between the two countries. The two countries are also connected historically: in Venezuela, there are a lot of people who emigrated from the Canary Islands, and many of these people are returning. The ties are very close.
All that the United States seeks is the rapprochement of the countries against which these sanctions are imposed. And the growing mistrust of the Americans as a whole. I would be more worried about the place of the Americans, not the Venezuelans.
Sputnik: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain has denied the possible imposition of sanctions. Analysts also consider it unlikely, since earlier Spain even recognised the government of Guaido as legal. What is your opinion?
Armando Fernández Steinko: I believe that Josep Borrell (Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs) was too quick with the recognition of Guaido. Spanish diplomacy made a rash decision. However, it should be noted that in Spain they are very sensitive to the Venezuelan support of Catalan nationalists, and here we can talk about a little revenge. However, in any case, this was a mistake.
Moreover, everyone knows that Donald Trump often intervenes in election campaigns in other countries, for example, in the UK. It is possible that this time he intervened in the election campaign in Spain before the elections.
Trump is showing the world irresponsible diplomacy that harms everyone, including the United States itself, based on the understanding that the interests of the country involve the promotion of its goals without direct opposition from other players on the world stage.
Once again, Trump provokes the unification of countries against himself, although initially, they have different interests. And now they are ready together to confront the monstrous arbitrariness of these unilateral measures.
Sputnik: According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, this is generally about an account open for mutual transfers between Spain and Venezuela, which did not show any special flow of funds over the past year. This suggests that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could not use it to withdraw funds. What do you think?
Armando Fernández Steinko: All this is ordinary populism and arbitrariness. For Trump, the evidence is not important, only populism is important. This is the same philosophy as in his tweets: everything is simplified to the max and platitude. This creates a huge problem for American diplomacy: Trump will not always be the president and it will be difficult for his followers to quickly correct his mistakes.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.