Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez denied the allegations. Typically, he blamed an international Yankee plot, describing it as a sad remnant of Spains colonial past. It is not the first time Mr Chavez has had strong words for Spain. His repeated interruptions of Mr Zapatero at the Ibero-American summit in Chile two years ago caused King Juan Carlos to shout: Why dont you shut up?
Words of a more conciliatory tone came from Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan foreign minister. In a telephone call with his Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos, he promised he would investigate the allegations and keep Mr Moratinos informed.