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Archive for Chile

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.



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.”


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.


Newsline: Hungary Reopens Embassy In Santiago De Chile

Foreign Minister János Martonyi paid an official visit to Chile between January 5 and 7 and reopened the Hungarian embassy in Santiago de Chile. Martonyi also held talks with Chilean counterpart Alfredo Moreno Charme and expressed thanks for keeping the Chilean embassy in Budapest open despite the closing of the Hungarian one in Chile in 2009, a statement by the ministry said. Martonyi told Moreno that Hungary was paying increased attention to the Latin American region as part of its global opening and plans to strengthen cooperation with countries of the region in the areas of the economy, science and education.


Newsline: Chile’s ambassador to repatriate Peruvian killed in Kenyan attack

After a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Chilean Embassy mediates between Peru and Kenya to repatriate remains of slain Peruvian doctor. The Chilean embassy in Kenya has stepped in to help an Andean neighbor in the wake of the devastating terror attack in the East African nation. As Peru does not have diplomatic representation with Kenya, the Chilean government offered to take charge of the repatriation of the body of Juan Ortíz, a Peruvian doctor who died in the terrorist attack in the Westgate Mall which killed 67 and injured 175 this weekend. Ambassador Konrad Paulsen said Tuesday that helping this Peruvian family is Chile’s duty. Peru’s Foreign Ministry said in a press release that it valued “the generous offer of the Chilean Embassy in Nairobi” to be Peru’s intermediary in Kenya.


Newsline: Wife of Israeli ambassador to Chile allegedly padded expenses

The wife of Israel’s ambassador to Chile has confirmed to the Foreign Ministry’s internal auditor suspicions that they submitted expense accounts that were padded by thousands of dollars. The ambassador, David Dadon, says he was not aware of the matter. A source in the Foreign Ministry said local employees of Israel’s embassy in Chile reported suspicions regarding reimbursements to Dadon and his wife. According to the information, the expense accounts that were submitted did not match the embassy’s actual spending on events held at the embassy. After the alleged misconduct was reported, the Foreign Ministry’s internal auditor, Jacob Keidar, dispatched a representative to Santiago to examine the embassy’s books. According to a source at the Foreign Ministry, evidence was allegedly found of expense-account fraud in the amount of $5,000. When questioned, local employees at the embassy implicated Dadon and his wife in the alleged misconduct. The ambassador’s wife initially claimed some of the local employees were trying to frame her. But when she and the ambassador were confronted with the allegedly incriminating evidence, she confirmed some of the claims. The ambassador said he was not aware of the suspected actions. Keidar’s representative did not make do with the admission of the actions by the ambassador’s wife and the return of the money, but also insisted that the ambassador’s wife admit her actions to the embassy employees and apologize to those she had accused. She did so, and then, also in the presence of the staff, Dadon criticized his wife’s alleged actions and said he knew nothing about them. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Primor said: “Examinations revealed irregularities involving reimbursement of expenses and for reasons of confidentiality we will not disclose the identity of the people. The case is being dealt with by the Foreign Ministry according to the appropriate procedures.”


Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Chile apologises for rude tweet

The U.S. embassy in Chile has apologised for an earlier tweet indicating it was bored or irritated by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet’s bid to run in the November presidential polls. “Our apologies for the last tweet. An unauthorised user sent the message from this account,” the embassy said via its official Twitter account. The offensive tweet was erased, but the apology was still there Thursday. The erased message read: “Bachelet, Bachelet, Bachelet … Is there no other news?” Bachelet, the first female to lead Chile from 2006 to 2010, was until recently head of the United Nations agency in charge of women’s affairs. She returned to Chile on Wednesday to seek a second term in the Nov 17 elections as candidate of the left-leaning opposition.