Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South America

Newsline: Mexico’s top diplomat visits Cuba to seek help on Venezuela crisis

Mexico’s foreign minister is in Havana hoping to persuade Cuba, one of Venezuela’s top allies, to help resolve the tense political situation in the beleaguered South American nation, according to a senior Mexican official briefed about the trip. The minister, Luis Videgaray, has not gone empty-handed, according to the official and a document seen by Reuters, and has agreed with Havana’s request to expand a credit line with Mexico’s state-owned Bancomext bank from 30 million to 56 million euros as a gesture of goodwill. Cuba uses the credit line to pay for key imports. “The foreign minister is going to say, ‘We want to solve the situation in Venezuela. How do we do that?'” the official said. “He’s going to see what the Cubans’ view is, and how we can soften or manage the transition in Venezuela and its impact on Cuba.” Mexico may struggle to convince Cuba to join its effort. Venezuela is Cuba’s closest strategic and ideological ally, and has showered the island with billions of dollars of cheap oil and aid since the turn of the century. Mexico, on the other hand, has flip-flopped in its relationship with Cuba, with former President Vicente Fox famously snubbing Fidel Castro at a summit, a move that pleased the United States but damaged Mexico’s regional influence. Cuba has been loathe to support regional, U.S.-backed efforts to pressure the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro into restoring democratic order after months of deadly protests. Still, Mexico, which has ditched years of isolationist foreign policies to lead Latin American diplomatic efforts to pressure Caracas, believes there won’t be a peaceful transition in Venezuela without Cuba’s help, the official said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-mexico-venezuela-exclusive-idUSKCN1AY270

Newsline: Peru and Venezuela Expel Each Others Ambassadors

Venezuela has rejected Peru’s decision to withdraw its Ambassador to Lima and said it is obliged to expel the Peruvian Ambassador to Caracas in response. The government issued a statement which criticises the move and adds “The President of the Republic of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has become an enemy of Bolivar’s homeland by continually interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela”. Earlier the Peruvian government announced the expulsion of Ambassador, Diego Molero, giving him a maximum of five days to leave the country. Lima says Caracas had sent an “unacceptable” response following a regional meeting which condemned Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Peru-Expels-Venezuelan-Ambassador-Diego-Molero-20170811-0019.html

Newsline: Bombs Explode at Spanish Embassy in Caracas

The Spanish embassy in Venezuela has been hit by explosive devices lobbed by two people on a motorcycle. Prosecutors reported the incident Thursday, describing the explosives as gasoline bombs. There are no reports of casualties. It appeared that the building sustained no damage. The first meeting of the 545 delegates elected to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution is scheduled for Friday at the legislative palace in Caracas, setting the stage for a possible showdown between President Nicolas Maduro and the political opposition, which says the election of the constituent assembly was not fair.

https://www.voanews.com/a/bombs-explode-spanish-embassy-venenzuela/3972061.html

Newsline: US Orders Relatives of Embassy Staff in Venezuela to Leave Country

The State Department on Thursday ordered family members of American government employees working at the United States Embassy in Caracas to leave the country and gave the employees the option to join them before a controversial vote to begin rewriting Venezuela’s Constitution. The State Department said it had made the decision, along with an expanded travel warning, “due to social unrest, violent crime and pervasive food and medicine shortages” in Venezuela. The warning comes as the United States and Venezuela approach a showdown over a vote scheduled for Sunday that could lead to a restructuring of Venezuela’s government. President Nicolás Maduro has ordered the creation of a new body, known as a constituent assembly, which would rule above all other government branches for a period of time in which it would also rewrite the Constitution. Critics of the plan, including the Trump administration, describe the vote as a power grab that would lay the groundwork for a dictatorship. On Wednesday, the US administration issued sanctions against 13 Venezuelans connected to Mr. Maduro, including his interior minister and leaders of the army. President Trump has warned that if Mr. Maduro proceeds with the vote, he will impose “strong and swift economic actions.”

Newsline: Peru orders downsizing of North Korean embassy in Lima

Action is in line with UNSC Resolution 2321, follows measures by other states. Peru has instructed the North Korean Embassy in Lima to reduce the number of its credited diplomats pursuant to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2321, according to its implementation report dated June 28. The move is in line with Paragraph 14 of Resolution 2321, which calls upon UN member states to reduce the number of North Korean diplomats.

https://www.nknews.org/2017/07/peru-orders-downsizing-of-north-korean-embassy-in-lima/

Newsline: Malaysia’s ambassador to Chile robbed in Santiago

Robbers entered the home of Malaysia’s ambassador to Chile, Mohamad Rameez Yahaya, on Sunday, getting away with money, jewellery and other valuables said to be worth about 39 million Chilean pesos (about RM250,000). The robbery which took place in Las Condes, an upmarket suburb in the Chilean capital of Santiago, saw Rameez, his wife and their five children tied up by five robbers, according to news portal SoyChile. Meanwhile, another Chilean news portal, Biobiochile.cl, reported the robbers had been violent and also threatened the ambassador and his family. “They hit me in the head and also tied our hands. One of them also threatened to harm my wife, and cut off her ear. “After the robbers had taken all the jewellery belonging to my wife and children, they then asked for all the cash we had at home. “They even threatened to kill my children if I refused to give them money,” Rameez was quoted as saying by Biobiochile. Rameez told Chilean media that while the family were still traumautised by the incident, they were all just relieved to have escaped unharmed.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/06/13/msian-ambassador-to-chile-family-robbed-in-santiago/

Newsline: New Ecuador leader says ‘hacker’ Assange can stay at embassy

Ecuador’s new President Lenin Moreno criticized Julian Assange as a “hacker” but stressed his country would continue providing asylum to the WikiLeaks founder fleeing international arrest. Moreno, who took office this month, has struck a more critical tone toward Assange than his predecessor, Rafael Correa, who said earlier his country had “done its duty” by granting Assange asylum in 2012. “Mr Assange is a hacker. That’s something we reject and that I in particular personally reject,” said Moreno, who warned Assange during the presidential campaign to “not interfere” in Ecuadoran politics. “But I respect the situation in which he finds himself,” holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, Moreno said. Earlier this month, Swedish prosecutors dropped a seven-year rape allegation against Assange and withdrew the European arrest warrant that had prompted his flight to the embassy and an appeal for asylum. However, British police have said they still intend to arrest Assange if he leaves the London embassy after he violated the terms of his probation in Britain in 2012 when he took refuge in the diplomatic mission. “It seems the British government is not going to grant safe passage, meaning that Mr Assange can continue living in the Ecuadoran embassy, and we will respect that condition,” Moreno said.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ecuador-leader-says-hacker-assange-stay-embassy-232354000.html