Archive for Venezuela
As tens of thousands took to the streets in Venezuela Wednesday to express their anger at the government of President Nicolás Maduro, expatriates of the South American country gathered at embassies around the world in solidarity. In Washington D.C., around a hundred Venezuelan-Americans and sympathizers gathered across the street from the Venezuelan embassy, hoisting signs calling President Maduro a dictator and comparing his rule to that of the Castros in Cuba. “The Venezuelans of Washington D.C. have gathered here to make the same demand that our Venezuelan brothers are making in the streets of Venezuela,” said Carlos Delgado Salas, a representative of the international wing of Voluntad Popular (Popular Will), a Venezuelan opposition party. “Our demand is very simple: democracy and human rights.”
Police in Venezuela arrested six government office workers last week in a story largely lost amid the ongoing violent police crackdown on anti-socialist dissidents. The employees stand accused of selling authentic Venezuelan government documents, like passports and birth certificates, to Syrian nationals at $5,000 each. The arrests are a tacit admission of reports dating back to 2015 that accuse Caracas of selling identification documents to Mideast nationals from its embassies in the region, including individuals believed to have ties to the Hezbollah Shiite terrorist group. CNN reports that the individuals arrested “all worked as data transcribers at the Venezuelan office that handles identification documents and passports,” the Administrative Service for Identification, Migration, and the Exterior (Saime). They stand accused of selling passports and other documents to people of “Syrian origin,” whom Venezuelan prosecutors did not identify. Those arrested face charges of “corruption, improper access or sabotage of protected systems, unauthorized issuance of identification documents and conspiracy to commit a crime.” The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional identifies those arrested as Jethaimet Wiher Blanco, 31; Isamar Gutiérrez Campos, 26; Chery Del Carmen Perdomo, 36; Lilian Irene Castillo, 41; Mariannys Peña Rivera, 27; and Yamilet Galvis Chacón, 45.
The former househelp in the Venezuelan Embassy Tuesday told the High Court she could not remember whether the embassy was used as a drugs conduit, but had recollection of wild parties. Zipporah Ivulu denied, however, allegations that former First Secretary Dwight Sagaray instructed staff never to respect Olga Fonseca as their new boss. Sagaray and four others are charged with Fonseca’s murder. The envoy was found murdered at the embassy on July 2012. Ivulu, who worked at the embassy for eight years, said she could not remember if there was drugs business. But the former ambassador Geraldo De Silva used to host “wild parties” at which revelers at the residence were naked. The witness told Justice Roselyn Korir that embassy staff “had an issue with that (naked guests)”. “We complained and told them to respect our presence and dress appropriately at such parties,” she said. On Monday, advocate for the embassy Njeri Mucheru told the court Fonseca and Sagaray had a hostile relationship.
A Venezuelan former intelligence chief who had been arrested in Aruba on US drugs charges has been freed. Hugo Carvajal was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Dutch foreign minister. Carvajal was freed late Sunday after being arrested last week in Aruba, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as he arrived to serve as Venezuela’s consul general on the Caribbean island. He was detained at the request of US prosecutors, who want to try him over alleged drug crimes and helping Colombia’s Marxist FARC guerrillas. Carvajal served as military intelligence chief under the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, from 2004-2011. At the time of his arrest, Carvajal’s diplomatic status had led to confusion as to whether he was entitled to immunity from prosecution. Aruban authorities had argued that did not have immunity because he had yet to be accredited by the Netherlands. That was cleared up at a press conference in Oranjestad, Aruba’s capital, late on Sunday, when it was announced that Carvajal did indeed have immunity. However, it was also announced that the Dutch foreign minister, Frans Timmermans, had declared the retired general ‘persona non grata’ – a term used by governments to remove diplomats. “The fact is that Mr. Carvajal was granted diplomatic immunity, but is also considered persona non grata,” said Aruban Justice Minister Arthur Dowers. Dowers said Carvajal was arrested because he had arrived on a diplomatic passport but had not yet been accredited by the Dutch authorities to serve as a diplomat on the island. Officials decided to act on the US detention request because of an international treaty between Washington and the Netherlands. US officials were “very disappointed” with the decision to free Carvajal, Aruban Justice Minister Dowers said.
Newsline: Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors accused of role in Venezuelan envoy murder trial in Kenya
A lawyer in the Venezuelan envoy murder trial accused the Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors of playing a role in the arrest of his client. Lawyer Katwa Kigen, who is representing the former first secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy Dwight Sagaray, said ambassadors Luise Gurbert and Juana Carlos insisted on having Sagaray charged with the murder of Olga Fonseca. The proceedings also saw a gardener, who still works at the Venezuelan Embassy, testify against Sagaray and his four co-accused. Julius Anini told Justice Weldon Korir that he knew the Ethiopian and Namibian ambassadors and that they came to act for the embassy when he was arrested with Sagaray for investigations into Fonseca’s murder.
North Korea is set to establish a diplomatic mission in Venezuela after recently winning approval from the Latin American country. The Venezuela government has recently approved the North’s embassy plan. If successfully established, it will be North Korea’s first embassy in the South American country since the two forged bilateral diplomatic relations in 1974. So far, the North Korean ambassador based in Cuba has represented his country in Venezuela, The recent approval came upon the North’s repeated approaches to Venezuela. In 1991, the North set up a trade office in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas before shutting it down in 1999. The office was reopened the next year. The North has been on friendly terms with Venezuela, a key oil producing country that like the North has an anti-U.S. foreign policy.
The trial of a Venezuelan diplomat charged with the murder of their acting ambassador in Kenya has failed to proceed for the second time. The trial court was informed that the hearing of the murder trial cannot proceed because the state counsel prosecuting the matter was held up elsewhere. The first time it failed to proceed before Justice Rosalyn Korir, the counsel for one of the accused stepped down. Korir then directed the state to find a lawyer for Moses Kiprotich, a guard who worked at the embassy, after his lawyer stepped aside. The judge set the hearing date of the murder trial for July 16. Diplomat Dwight Sagaray and his co-accused Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed are charged that on the night of July 26 and 27 at the residence of the Venezuelan Embassy in Runda Estate, they murdered the ambassador Olga Fonseca. The envoy was found strangled to death at her official residence in Nairobi on 27 July. Three security guards who were also charged in connection with the murder of the Venezuelan Ambassador were released on bail.