Archive for Venezuela
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.
The US Embassy in Venezuela is partially suspending the issuance of tourist visas because President Nicolas Maduro’s recent expulsion of American diplomats has left it understaffed. The embassy says last month’s expulsion of three consular officials and delays by Maduro’s socialist government in authorising the arrival of new US officials makes it impossible to meet demand for visas.
Venezuela asked the Panamanian ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours Thursday after it severed ties with Panama for attempting to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs. Ambassador Pedro Pereira and the three embassy staff members were declared “personae non gratae” and given 48 hours to leave Venezuela, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that Venezuela was breaking off diplomatic ties with Panama after Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli called an urgent meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) over the political turmoil in Venezuela. Two people were killed in a Caracas neighborhood Thursday, bringing the death toll to at least 20 in the month-long anti-government protests. It was the second time that foreign diplomats were expelled from the country since street protests erupted on Feb. 12. Last month, Venezuela expelled three U.S. diplomats accused of conspiring with the opposition. Washington denied the charge and expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in retaliation.