The Spanish foreign ministry has summoned the Venezuelan ambassador to protest against comments by the Venezuelan president against Spain after the Spanish Parliament passed a motion calling for the release of opposition leaders jailed in the South American country.

The ministry said in a statement that Venezuelan ambassador Mario Isea was told Wednesday of Spain's "dislike and rejection" of President Nicolas Maduro's remarks. It said the government considered Maduro's insults and threats intolerable.

Maduro had hit out at Spain for interfering in its affairs, calling Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy "a racist" and vowing to take unspecified retaliatory action.

His comments followed the approval late Tuesday by Spain's Parliament of a motion calling on the Venezuelan government to release opposition leaders detained there.

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