The image, posted on the Twitter account of Ítaca, which describes itself as “an international organization of the Catalan Countries,” shows Maduro holding an estelada, the distinctive red-and-yellow striped flag that has become the unofficial ensign of Catalan nationalists – in this case, one with a red star.
Ítaca, which is part of the Catalan left, says the photo, which was also tweeted by the website of the CUP left-wing pro-independence party, was taken at the presentation of a documentary called Maduro: lealtad indestructible (Maduro: indestructible loyalty), on April 23, in Caracas. In another tweet, Ítaca points out that Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, “had already been photographed with an estelada” posting an image of Chávez with a Catalan pro-independence supporter.
Venezuela is in the grip of a prolonged and worsening political and economic crisis
However, the photograph of Maduro has not been well received by more centrist pro-independence parties in Catalonia. The Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) – the successor to the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, led by former Catalan regional premier Artur Mas, that has 29 seats out of the 135 in the regional parliament – posted a tweet saying: “Anybody who thinks a photo of Maduro with the estelada is a good idea doesn’t understand anything at all. What a serious mistake!”
Venezuela has been rocked by a month of anti-government protests that have left at least 29 people dead. Venezuela is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis that is hitting it from all sides: it has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, violence and crime are rampant, people are unable to find necessary everyday items, and the social fabric is breaking down.
English version by Nick Lyne.