Archive for South America
Police have gathered outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in anticipation that Julian Assange may be about to end his self-imposed two-year exile. If he walks out he is likely to be arrested and extradited to Sweden where he faces an investigation into sexual assault allegations. He may also face repercussions from skipping police bail by entering the embassy in June 2012. Assange claims he would then be at risk of being sent to the United States where a warrant awaits over his work with WikiLeaks exposing classified diplomatic and military information. It has been reported that his worsening health is behind his change of heart. Assange’s state of health was vividly described by a Mail on Sunday interviewer on the weekend – who listed the translucent pale skin, persistent cough and dark rings under his eyes. The Mail reported: “Assange is, according to a WikiLeaks source, suffering from the potentially life-threatening heart condition arrhythmia and has a chronic lung complaint and dangerously high blood pressure. A severe shortage of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is impacting on his general health – in the long term, it can trigger asthma and diabetes, weaken bones and increase the risk of dementia.” The British Foreign Office had turned down Ecuador’s request to take him to hospital under diplomatic protection, the Mail said.
The embassy of Suriname opened a consulate in Bangalore, and a gala event was held to mark the occasion. Asif Iqbal has been appointed as honorary consul of the venue, which has been opened to provide assistance to Suriname nationals, Indians travelling to Suriname to visit families, and cultural groups visiting the South American country.
A Brazilian vice consul has died following a car crash in the South American country of Guyana. Police say Theotonio Santa Cruz Oliveira died Saturday following a head-on crash in the southwest border town of Lethem on a main highway leading to Brazil. Police said two other people from Guyana involved in the crash were hospitalized with serious injuries. Authorities say they do not yet know what caused the crash. They said Oliveira died after being taken to a hospital in neighboring Brazil.
Ecuador announces the opening of an embassy in the occupied territories, joining 40 other nations with diplomatic missions in Palestine. The Ecuadorian government has announced the opening of an embassy in Palestine and also called for an end to the slaughter in Gaza. The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño tweeted on Monday that “Palestine lives in tragic moments: the moral obligation of the world is to end the slaughter in Gaza and to promote a lasting peace with justice,” as well as announcing the opening of the embassy. He wrote that, “Ecuador has decided to open an embassy in Palestine,” which will join “a diplomatic mission in Ramallah.” Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has condemned the Israeli attacks on Palestine and called for and end to the conflict.
Peru has recalled its ambassador from Israel, and Israeli officials are none too pleased with the move. An official document was released to communicate that sentiment: “[The nation of] Israel expresses its disappointment at this decision by a friendly country, with whom we have shared more than a half century of good relations.” Peru was not the only Latin American nation to withdraw their ambassador from Israel in recent days. Chile and El Salvador did as well, apparently prompted by Brazil’s earlier decision to do the same. The Jerusalem Press quotes Foreign Ministry representative Yigal Palmor as saying that the decision by Chile, Perú, and El Salvador to withdraw their diplomats “constitutes encouragement for Hamas, a group recognized as a terror organization by many countries around the world.”
Israel denounced Brazil for recalling its ambassador to Israel for consultations in protest over the IDF’s operation in the Gaza Strip, calling it an economic power but an irrelevant diplomatic power. “This is an unfortunate demonstration of why Brazil, an economic and cultural giant, remains a diplomatic dwarf,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “The moral relativism behind this move makes Brazil an irrelevant diplomatic partner, one who creates problems rather than contributes to solutions.” A statement put out by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry announcing the recall of its ambassador said Brazil considered the “escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine” as unacceptable. “We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the Gaza Strip.” Foreign Ministry officials were bracing for other Latin American countries to follow suit, noting that Brazil often sets the tone in South America. In 2010, once Brazil recognized a Palestinian state, a number of other South American countries did the same.
A Venezuelan former intelligence chief who had been arrested in Aruba on US drugs charges has been freed. Hugo Carvajal was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Dutch foreign minister. Carvajal was freed late Sunday after being arrested last week in Aruba, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as he arrived to serve as Venezuela’s consul general on the Caribbean island. He was detained at the request of US prosecutors, who want to try him over alleged drug crimes and helping Colombia’s Marxist FARC guerrillas. Carvajal served as military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, from 2004-2011. At the time of his arrest, Carvajal’s diplomatic status had led to confusion as to whether he was entitled to immunity from prosecution. Aruban authorities had argued that did not have immunity because he had yet to be accredited by the Netherlands. That was cleared up at a press conference in Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, late on Sunday, when it was announced that Carvajal did indeed have immunity. However, it was also announced that the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, had declared the retired general ‘persona non grata’ – a term used by governments to remove diplomats. “The fact is that Mr. Carvajal was granted diplomatic immunity, but is also considered persona non grata,” said Aruban Justice Minister Arthur Dowers. Dowers said Carvajal was arrested because he had arrived on a diplomatic passport but had not yet been accredited by the Dutch authorities to serve as a diplomat on the island. Officials decided to act on the US detention request because of an international treaty between Washington and the Netherlands. US officials were “very disappointed” with the decision to free Carvajal, Aruban Justice Minister Dowers said.