Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for South America

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Ecuador says 4 workers killed in explosion

Four Chinese workers were killed by an explosion at the construction site of the Sopladora hydroelectric station in Ecuador, the Chinese embassy has confirmed. The blast broke out near Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, and the four workers were working in a vertical shaft when the explosion occurred. After over five hours of rescue, the remains of the four workers had been found. There were no other casualties in the accident. The Sopladora hydropower station, one of the most important hydroelectric projects in Ecuador, is built by Gezhouba Group, a Chinese construction and engineering company based in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in central China. The company is undertaking another two water conservancy projects in Ecuador. The cause of the explosion is under investigation. The Chinese embassy has offered help to appropriately handle the aftermath.


Newsline: US partially suspends visa issuances in Venezuela

The US Embassy in Venezuela is partially suspending the issuance of tourist visas because President Nicolas Maduro’s recent expulsion of American diplomats has left it understaffed. The embassy says last month’s expulsion of three consular officials and delays by Maduro’s socialist government in authorising the arrival of new US officials makes it impossible to meet demand for visas.


Newsline: Azerbaijan to establish diplomatic mission in Colombia

Azerbaijan is set to open a diplomatic mission in Colombia in March. This was said by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Mexico and Colombia Ilgar Mukhtarov during a meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar. He also presented the charge d’affaires of the country Ramil Farzaliyev. Mukhtarov noted that the launch of the diplomatic mission will enhance relations and strengthen friendship between both countries.


Newsline: Venezuela expels Panamanian ambassador after severing ties

Venezuela asked the Panamanian ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours Thursday after it severed ties with Panama for attempting to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Ambassador Pedro Pereira and the three embassy staff members were declared “personae non gratae” and given 48 hours to leave Venezuela, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that Venezuela was breaking off diplomatic ties with Panama after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli called an urgent meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) over the political turmoil in Venezuela. Two people were killed in a Caracas neighborhood Thursday, bringing the death toll to at least 20 in the month-long anti-government protests. It was the second time that foreign diplomats were expelled from the country since street protests erupted on Feb. 12. Last month, Venezuela expelled three U.S. diplomats accused of conspiring with the opposition. Washington denied the charge and expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in retaliation.


Newsline: Venezuela breaks diplomatic relations with Panama over protest talks

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday his government was breaking diplomatic relations with Panama after the country called a meeting of North and Latin American nations over protests in Caracas. Writing on Twitter, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli said that the move was “surprising,” adding: “Panama only longs for our sister country to find peace and strengthen its democracy.” Earlier, during a ceremony marking the anniversary of Hugo Chávez’s death, Maduro said he had also decided to freeze all trade and economic ties with the Central American nation. Maduro directed his anger against Panama after it requested a private meeting of the Washington-based Organization of American States to be held on Thursday to seek solutions to resolve tensions in Venezuela.


Newsline: UK splashes out £5.3mn to monitor Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy

Britain’s biggest force, the Metropolitan (Met) police, has spent over £5.3 million (USD8.3 million) for policing the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for almost two years. According to figures, released to The Huffington Post UK in response to a Freedom of Information request, the total cost of monitoring the South American country’s diplomatic mission in the UK capital is estimated to be around £10,000 a day. The Met police have been stationed outside the embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, every day and night over the past 20 months ready to arrest the Australian campaigner if he steps out of the building. Members of the London Assembly condemned the expenditure of such a figure, describing it as a “terrible waste of money for Londoners”. “The mayor should be on the phone to the Foreign Office asking them to resolve this situation and on the phone to the Home Office so that Londoners aren’t paying for this expensive stakeout,” said assembly member Jenny Jones. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 and secured political asylum from Quito after he lost a legal battle against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over the sexual abuse allegations.


Newsline: Brazil embassy in Malaysia shows concern

Concerned with the safety of Brazilian players, Brazil ambassador, Maria Auxiliadora Figueirado, visited the T-Team office in Kuala Terengganu. She said the Brazilian embassy wants to ensure the safety of Brazilian citizens after striker Evaldo Concalves was allegedly punched in the face by a Johor FA official during a FA Cup second round tie between Johor Darul Ta’zim and T-Team in Larkin on Feb 1. It is also alleged that during the incident, Brazilian defender Fabio Flor de Azivedo was verbally abused by the same official while fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo was kicked in the groin by a security man. Maria said: “After the unfortunate incident, we received complaints from the Brazilian trio in T-Team and we are here now to talk with the T-Team management over the players’ safety. “It is the job of the embassy to ensure the safety of our citizens and should they be in danger, we will have no choice but take them out of this country,” she said after a meeting with T-Team chief executive officer Ab Rasid Jusoh, manager Rozi Mamat and head coach Azraai Khor. Rozi said it will be best to leave it to the police and the FA of Malaysia to complete their investigations.


Newsline: Three U.S. Embassy officials given 48 hours to leave Venezuela

President Nicolas Maduro’s government gave three U.S. Embassy officials 48 hours to leave the country, accusing the Obama administration of siding with student protesters that Venezuela accuses of inciting violence. The announcement by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua came amid fears that renewed clashes could erupt Tuesday when both pro- and anti-government activists hold demonstrations in the capital. Jaua said the senior U.S. consular officers were trying to infiltrate Venezuelan universities, the hotbed of the recent unrest, under the cover of doing visa outreach. Repeating charges by Maduro, who has expelled American diplomats twice before, Jaua said the U.S. is conspiring with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and student activists in an attempt to oust the socialist president. The U.S. denied the charges, and is expressing concern about rising violence that led to three deaths last week during anti-government demonstrations and about the government’s attempts to block peaceful protests.


Newsline: Venezuelan Leader Announces Expulsion of 3 U.S. Officials

After several days of student-led protests against his government, President Nicolás Maduro said Sunday that he was expelling three American consular officials who he said had been visiting universities here. He did not say exactly what the officials had done to deserve expulsion, nor did he identify them, saying they had claimed to be visiting private universities to offer visas to students. Mr. Maduro, a socialist who was elected in April, has often said the United States is seeking to oust him from office; Sunday was the third time in less than a year that he has announced the expulsion of American officials. Mr. Maduro kicked out the American chargé d’affaires and two other embassy officials in September. In March, on the same day that he announced the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, Mr. Maduro expelled two American military attachés. In both those cases he said the officials had been conspiring against the government, charges that Washington denied. Mr. Maduro also said Sunday that a State Department official had contacted Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington and warned of negative consequences if Venezuela arrested a prominent opposition politician, Leopoldo López. He said Mr. López was responsible for violence tied to the recent demonstrations.


Newsline: U.S. Embassy warns of possible Guyana threat

The U.S. Embassy in Guyana warned Sunday that it had received “unconfirmed threat information” about a regional airline’s flights from the South American country to the United States on Monday and urged Americans to avoid using the carrier. The terse message about flights of Caribbean Airlines was unusual for being so specific about a potential threat. It was posted Sunday on the embassy’s website. It advised all U.S. citizens in Guyana to make alternate travel arrangements through Wednesday if they were planning on traveling home on flights with Caribbean Airlines. In 2007, a former member of Guyana’s parliament and a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana were among four people convicted of participating in a failed plot by a small group of militant Muslims to firebomb John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 446 other followers