efe-epaNew York

The Spanish Foreign Ministry will file a diplomatic protest with the Organization of American States over the "very serious insults" OAS General-Secretary Luis Almagro leveled at former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose mediation efforts in Venezuela he criticized.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell made the announcement in New York on Sunday, referring to Almagro's reproaching Zapatero on Friday for having a "very big problem understanding" the Venezuelan situation, adding that "My advice is don't be an idiot. It's important advice; OK, I think that it can do him a lot of good."

Almagro made his remarks in Washington, alluding to Zapatero's comments on Sept. 15 to EFE in which he said that the increase in Venezuelan migrant flows to several Latin American countries was due to economic sanctions imposed by the US on Caracas.

"Former Prime Minister Zapatero does not represent the Spanish government. We have not tasked him with any negotiations, and his mediation work is being done strictly on his own personal account," Borrell told Spanish media at Spain's UN mission.

Borrell added that "the (Spanish) government cannot calmly listen to the very serious insults on the part of a person with a relevant institutional role."

Thus, he said, Spain will "present a diplomatic protest and a communique from the ministry because we cannot accept Zapatero being (called an idiot), that is unacceptable language. One may differ with one's political opinions, but you cannot make those personal condemnations."

"What is evident is that when two million people leave a country it's because they're in an extreme situation that forces them to do it. I don't think that it's the result of their free desire to get some fresh air," Borrell said.