Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for South America

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

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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

Newsline: UK police say ‘obliged’ to arrest Assange if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy

British police said Friday that they would have to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for breaching his bail if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy after a Swedish rape investigation against him was dropped. The police said a warrant was issued against Assange in 2012 after he failed to hand himself in for extradition to Sweden, adding: “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy”. The Crown Prosecution Service said that breach of bail is punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine. The police statement said Assange was previously wanted for “an extremely serious offence” in Sweden and the police presence around the embassy had “reflected the serious nature of that crime”. “Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter. Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence,” it said. “The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence,” it added. The police ended their round-the-clock guard outside the embassy in October 2015 but said they were strengthening a “covert plan” to prevent his departure. Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador and has been able to evade justice because he is on Ecuador’s sovereign territory by being in the embassy. The policing outside the embassy has cost millions of pounds, the source of much criticism in Britain.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/uk-police-say-obliged-to-arrest-assange-if-he-leaves-embassy-20170519

Newsline: Protesters Besiege Venezuela’s Embassy in Spain

Right-wing protesters surrounded Venezuela’s embassy in Madrid, Spain during a community event, preventing people from leaving the building. Mario Isea, Venezuela’s ambassador to Spain, told teleSUR that after hours of being held up in the building, local police evicted the violent protesters. The roughly 100 people attending the event, a commemoration of victims of right-wing violence in Venezuela, were then able to leave the building. “From the early hours of the day, a violent picket was installed in front of the embassy and we warned the Spanish Government to be responsible for the security of the embassy and the diplomats,” said Isea, who added that he requested for the Spanish government to evict protesters from the area hours in advance. He added that several Spanish policemen were present when protesters began encircling the building, but that they did little to address the situation. In response to the far-right protest, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez demanded that the Spanish government “guarantee the integrity of our diplomats.” Since early April, the Venezuelan opposition has led almost daily protests against the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. Protests have resulted in the deaths of over three dozen people.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Right-Wing-Protesters-Besiege-Venezuelas-Embassy-in-Spain-20170511-0022.html