Spain suspends sales of riot gear to Venezuela

By on 13/04/2014

Spain has suspended sales of riot gear to the Venezuelan government after public demonstrations in the country resulted in the death of 39 citizens, and caused injury to 600 more.

According to the rioters, they are students protesting about food shortages and the lack of basic equipment such as toilet paper. The Venezuelan government disagrees, however, branding them as “anti-democratic opposition forces who have exercised armed violence”.

Spain has provided anti-riot and police gear to Venezuela for a number of years, making the South American country one of its largest customers for such equipment. Following the recent civil unrest, however, Spain’s government quietly ceased sales in March 2014.

The Spanish government has worked hard to be discreet about its decision, in order to keep any diplomatic damage to a minimum. This is reported to be out of consideration for the 200,000 Spanish people living in Venezuela – a country that has more than 100 Spanish businesses and is currently holding 30 Spanish nationals as detainees.

Despite these concerns, Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel Garcia Margallo, publicly declared the decision in April, saying that, “The climate of violence should be replaced by a climate of dialogue.”

In response, the Venezuelan government highlighted the ethnic and social unrest in Spain, and questioned the Spanish government’s “moral authority”.

According to reports, tensions persist between the nations, which have historically enjoyed warm relations.

About Kevin Sorkin

Pendragon International Media publish www.globalgovernmentforum.com, a community of senior government officials around the world. Global Government Forum is an important international network focusing on impartial, government news, analysis and best practice. The content addresses the real issues facing senior leaders in public service policy and administration today and aims to support them in developing public services for the future. Our aim is to help all organisations engage with this important community by improving understanding and strengthening relationships. I am the founder of the Civil Service Awards and Civil Service Live, which are now established industry leading brands and extremely important events for government. I also launched and published Civil Service World, civilserviceworld.com and Civil Service World Research and Information bringing together the civil service community to enable communication, sharing of best practice, inspire and motivate the civil service community. Over the years I have established relationships with the most senior officials in government and the private sector and have built a very strong and positive reputation across the industry.

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