Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Central America

Newsline: Haiti closes only Embassy in Africa

Haiti no longer has an Embassy in Africa, following the closure of its Embassy in Benin last week. According to Government officials, in July 2016, announced plans to close its only Embassy on the African continent but without specifying at that time the definitive nature or a date for the official move. “It remains understood that this decision will in no way affect the excellent relations of friendship, solidarity and cooperation that exist between Haiti and Benin, two sister countries united by strong historical and cultural ties,”the government noted. The Embassy says that while waiting for new provisions, members of the Haitian community living in Benin and elsewhere on the African continent will want to address to the Consulate General of Haiti in Paris for their consular documents request.



Newsline: 25 US employees at embassy in Cuba did suffer inner-ear damage

Two dozen U.S. diplomats and government employees who experienced dizziness and ear pain from a mysterious illness while assigned to Cuba were found to have suffered inner-ear damage, according to a new study by doctors who first treated them. The report said the majority of the 25 individuals reported intense pain in one or both ears and experienced tinnitus, or a ringing in ears. All of the individuals noticed “unsteadiness and features of cognitive impairment,” according to the report. The study by physicians at the University of Miami and the University of Pittsburgh was published Wednesday in Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology journal. The doctors found that the patients displayed “abnormalities in the otolithic organs,” or damage to the inner ear that controls balance.


Newsline: US offers $20,000 reward in Guadalajara consulate grenade attack

The United States government is offering a US $20,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or group responsible for a grenade attack on the U.S. consulate in Guadalajara the night before the inauguration of President López Obrador. A statement issued yesterday by the United States Embassy in Mexico said that “on November 30, 2018 at 10:48pm, an unidentified individual threw two grenades, which exploded on the United States Consulate compound in Guadalajara, Jalisco.” The person who threw the grenades was caught on film by surveillance cameras.


Newsline: Grenade attack at US Consulate in Mexico may have been cartel hit

Law enforcement authorities from both the United States and Mexico are investigating a grenade explosion targeting the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday evening. It is believed two grenades were thrown, with one exploding on consular grounds around 7.30 Friday evening. In a statement released Saturday, consular officials said they “were aware of a security incident that took place at the U.S. Consulate General” on Friday evening. “The consulate was closed at the time and there were no injuries,” the statement continued. “U.S. and Mexican authorities are investigating. We will provide further information (including about consular operations) as it becomes available.” While the investigation continues and there have been no culprits yet identified, the attack comes just a week after several videos were posted online showcasing an interrogation of a cartel “sicario”– otherwise known as a hitman — allegedly working for the dominant cartel in the area, Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). He claimed he had orders to attack U.S. embassies or consulates from its leader, Rubén Oseguera González, also known as “El Menchito.”


Newsline: Canada Mulls Its Cuba Embassy Presence After 13th Mystery Illness Case

Canada is mulling its embassy presence in Cuba after another confirmed case of an unexplained illness. Canadian officials are investigating the potential cause of “unusual health symptoms” reported by some Canadian Embassy workers in Havana and their family members. A new case brings the total number of affected people to 13. The recent development also prompted the Canadian government to give staff stationed in Havana the option to return to Canada. Global Affairs Canada says there’s no known risk for Canadian residents traveling to Cuba. A group of Canadian government officials will visit the island next week to review the issue and potentially take further steps to protect diplomats there.


Newsline: Bahamas embassy in Haiti closes as unrest continues

The Bahamas’ embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remained closed following countrywide protests that began over the weekend, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield, who advised against travel to the country until calm has returned. Unrest has been steadily brewing for months over allegations that billions of dollars in foreign aid was embezzled or misused by former government officials under former Haitian President Michel Martelly. “The Bahamas follows the protocols of the United Nations’ missions to Haiti,” Henfield told reporters. “Following that protocol and after speaking with the ambassador and our personnel on the ground, we decided to close the mission yesterday (Monday), [and] today, I think. That’s where we are [as] apparently, there is civil unrest. Bahamasair has also suspended service to the impoverished country.


Newsline: Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba Ali Rodriguez dies

Ali Rodriguez, an icon of Venezuela’s socialist revolution who went on to serve as a diplomat in top government posts, died on Monday. Rodriguez had served as ambassador to Cuba. He passed away in Havana and was 81 years old, Venezuela’s state TV network said. Among stages of his storied career, Rodriguez oversaw the mass firing of thousands of workers at Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA. He also defended the sharply anti-American foreign policy of the socialist governments of late President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro. Rodriguez served as president of PDVSA until November 2004, when Chavez made him foreign ambassador to Cuba. He used the position to defend Venezuela’s anti-American foreign policy amid two decades of socialist rule.