The Spanish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Venezuelan ambassador to again protest comments by Venezuela's president against acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

A ministry statement Friday said the government expressed to Ambassador Mario Isea Bohorquez its rejection of remarks by President Nicolas Maduro on Jan. 20 that Rajoy was a racist and a colonialist who interfered in other countries' affairs.

The ministry said Spain was surprised, especially given new Spanish media reports that representatives of two radical Spanish parties and relatives of prisoners from the outlawed armed Basque group ETA were flown on an official Venezuelan plane to Venezuela in 2014 to take part in a conference about regional self-determination movements in Spain.

Spain summoned the Venezuelan ambassador twice last year for similar reasons.