Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro declared he is such a popular figure in Spain that he would defeat incumbent socialist President Pedro Sánchez with ease, the Argentine outlet Infobae reported Monday.
Addressing the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas this weekend, an annual meeting of far-left regional politicians and activists, Maduro suggested he would win an election in Spain as the country appears headed for its fourth election in four years after Sánchez recently lost a parliamentary vote of confidence.
“I may go Spain and defeat Pedro Sánchez in the elections he wants to call for November, I’m thinking of getting a Spanish passport and throwing myself into the elections in Spain,” Maduro said.
Maduro then joked that the Spanish media would turn his words into a threat against Sanchéz. “Now the nightly news is going to say: ‘Today Maduro threatened Sánchez, dictator Maduro has threatened Sánchez that he will run and beat him, we Spaniards must protest,'” he said, attempting a Castilian Spanish accent.
Maduro also sent his “greetings” to the Spanish people, who he said loved him “very much,” despite polls from Datanálisis suggesting he is viewed unfavorably by 80 percent of Spanish people.
Despite Sanchéz’s affiliation to the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), his administration has joined the vast majority of Western democracies in denouncing the Maduro regime and recognizing Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful president.
In April, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell warned that the efforts of the European Union and Latin American nations in resolving Venezuela’s political and humanitarian crisis were too slow and ineffectual. In June, it emerged that Spain was among a number of countries weighing the possibility of sanctions against the Maduro regime, yet no formal announcements have been made.
Borrell has voiced his opposition to the position of President Donald Trump, who has maintained that “all options are on the table” with regard to removing Maduro from power and instigating a transition to democracy.
“Not every option is on the table. We have clearly warned that we would not support – and would roundly condemn – any foreign military intervention, which is something we hope won’t happen,” he said in February. “The solution in Venezuela can only be reached through a democratic solution agreed by Venezuelans and the calling of presidential elections.”