Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South America

Newsline: US embassy employee kidnapped, freed, in Venezuela

An employee of the US embassy in Caracas has been released after being kidnapped two days earlier by criminals demanding a ransom, police said. Police said the employee, a Venezuelan national identified as Kerbin Barazarte, 28 — whom they described as a security guard — had been released yesterday unharmed and without payment of a ransom. They said he was abducted while patrolling in a van near the embassy on Monday night. His captors, who were not identified, had demanded payment of USD 30,000 for his release. A colleague who was with him managed to evade the kidnappers, the police said. The interior ministry announced on Tuesday that the US embassy van had been recovered but that Barazarte was missing. Police gave no details of the circumstances of his release.

US embassy employee kidnapped, freed, in Venezuela: police

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Newsline: War crimes suits against Sri Lankan ambassador in Brazil

Human rights groups in South America are alleging war crimes violations in lawsuits filed against a former Sri Lankan general who is now his Asian nation’s ambassador to Brazil and five other countries in Latin America. The suits against Jagath Jayasuriya are based on his role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. They allege Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people. Jayasuriya has diplomatic immunity in the countries where he is ambassador: Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Suriname. But the groups pursuing the suits hope they will compel regional governments to expel him. Carlos Castresana Fernandez, the lawyer coordinating the effort, told The Associated Press on Monday night that suits were filed Monday in Brazil and Colombia. Petitions also will be filed in Argentina, Chile and Peru in the coming days, he said, adding that authorities in Suriname refused to accept the suit.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article169906707.html

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/