Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South America

Newsline: Venezuela’s UN ambassador resigns

Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations is resigning after a rare and bitter feud with President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle. Rafael Ramirez said on social media that he had tendered his resignation at the request of Maduro for publicly expressing his opinions on economic issues. In a four-page letter posted on Twitter, the former oil czar said he was heartbroken to be abandoning his position after more than a decade of service to the socialist revolution started by the late President Hugo Chavez. He said he would remain loyal to Chavez’s ideals and gave no indication about his next moves.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/12/05/venezuelas-un-ambassador-resigns-on-orders-from-maduro.html

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Newsline: US diplomat in Brazil shot in the foot during attempted robbery

An American diplomat stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro was shot in the foot during an attempted robbery about 90 miles outside the city, reported the Associated Press, citing Brazilian police. The consulate official, identified by the AP as vice consul Stephanie Bohlen, was attacked while driving on a coastal road in Angra dos Reis, according to police. Bohlen was driving with a man identified as her partner. He was not hit. Bohlen was initially transported to a local hospital but she was then transferred to a hospital in Rio for surgery, the AP reported. A State Department spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that a consulate official was involved in an incident involving gunfire, but declined to provide further information.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-diplomat-brazil-shot-foot-attempted-robbery/story?id=51374956

Newsline: Venezuela opposition leader seeks refuge in Chilean embassy

One of Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leaders has sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence after being targeted for arrest by the Supreme Court. Chile’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had welcomed congressman Freddy Guevara as a guest, in line with Chile’s humanitarian tradition. He entered the ambassador’s residence in Caracas late Saturday with his girlfriend, ending more than 24 hours of suspense in which he went into hiding and vehicles belonging to the Sebin intelligence police had surrounded his residence. On Friday, the government-stacked high court barred Guevara from leaving the country and requested the pro-government Constitutional Assembly strip his immunity from prosecution. The court said Guevara is suspected of instigating unrest and other crimes during months of anti-government protests. By law, the opposition-controlled National Assembly is charged with determining whether a legislator’s constitutional immunity should be lifted. But the court has instead referred the case to the Constitutional Assembly, which has been given virtually unlimited powers. Guevara, vice president of the congress, was at the forefront of opposition protests that mobilized hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans frustrated with their nation’s spiral into political and economic crisis.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuela-opposition-leader-seeks-refuge-chilean-embassy-50938749

Newsline: Chile Condemns Attack on Argentine Embassy in Santiago

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz condemned the attack by a group of masked men on the Argentine Embassy in Santiago. “We express our repudiation of those who supposedly protested by abusing democracy and freedom of expression, engaging in what Chile’s government considers an unacceptable act of aggression,” Muñoz said after meeting with Argentine Ambassador Jose Octavio Bordon. The masked assailants attacked the Argentine Embassy on Monday during a protest over the death of Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old Indian activist whose body was found on Oct. 17 in southern Argentina’s Chubut River. Maldonado went missing on Aug. 1 after fleeing from border police who broke up a demonstration by Mapuche Indians near Esquel in Chubut province. The protesters threw stones and flaming objects at the embassy in downtown Santiago on Monday, then broke down the building’s door. “Embassies are inviolable. Even during the dictatorship, I don’t remember a situation like this in which anyone vandalized, broke windows in a friendly embassy, of a country with which we have built confidence and friendship,” the Chilean foreign minister said. The police officer assigned to guard the embassy was outnumbered in the disturbances, Muñoz said, adding that security would be tightened around the diplomatic facility. “The government will take all the measures necessary to protect this embassy,” the Chilean foreign minister said. Ambassador Bordon, for his part, thanked Muñoz for visiting the embassy and said that the attack “does not express the cultural values of our countries and we are not going to allow ourselves to be defeated by violence.”

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2445216&CategoryId=14094

Newsline: Assange risks to be kicked out of Ecuador embassy over Catalonia

The Wikileaks Founder’s support for Catalan separatists has antagonised the new president, Lenin Moreno, who had asked the Australian hacker to stay out of the independence debate. Responding to the president on Twitter, Assange accused President Moreno of attempting to silence him. He wrote: “If President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly — together with the legal basis.” The Australian hacker, who has been sheltered at the embassy for more than five years, is believed to be wanted by the United States for exposing state secrets.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/866750/Assange-to-be-kicked-out-of-embassy-Wikileaks-founder-clashes-with-Ecuador-over-Catalonia

Newsline: Venezuelan skier avoids jail after assaulting embassy landlord in Canberra

A top Venezuelan skier and world-record holder who punched the landlord of his home country’s embassy in Canberra has been handed a good behaviour order over the assault. The dispute arose due to growing tensions between embassy staff and the building’s landlord, who chose to blockade entrances to the embassy with vehicles as the spat intensified. During the blockade, Cesar Baena, 30, got into an altercation with the landlord. Baena, a champion skier, said he had struck out after being taunted, and the night before the incident the wife of the landlord had driven past and said “bad words” to him. He also told the court he had felt the man had shown disrespect for his country. In court today, Baena told the court if he had a conviction against his name his international skiing career would be over, as it would limit his ability to travel.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-13/top-venezuelan-skier-avoids-conviction-after-assault/9048198

Newsline: Blaze breaks out atop Embassy of Ecuador in NW Washington

A two-alarm fire sent flames leaping from the roof and attic of the Embassy of Ecuador early Wednesday morning in the Columbia Heights area of Northwest Washington. The blaze was on top of the embassy at 15th and Euclid Streets NW, across from the northeast corner of Meridian Hill Park. At about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, fire officials said efforts were still underway to extinguish pockets of flame inside the building. The embassy is in a four-story tan brick building that reflects the Beaux-Arts tradition, and is topped by a steeply pitched roof in the mansard style. The cause of the blaze was not known immediately. Firefighters said they were combating the blaze from the building’s interior. However, they also went outside at the top level, and were challenged officials said, by the pitch of the roof.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/blaze-breaks-out-atop-embassy-building-in-nw-washington/2017/09/27/874a2ecc-a33d-11e7-b14f-f41773cd5a14_story.html?utm_term=.7b47760f8007