Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Venezuela

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.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/venezuela-opposition-leader-seeks-refuge-chilean-embassy-50938749

Advertisements

Newsline: Venezuelan skier avoids jail after assaulting embassy landlord in Canberra

A top Venezuelan skier and world-record holder who punched the landlord of his home country’s embassy in Canberra has been handed a good behaviour order over the assault. The dispute arose due to growing tensions between embassy staff and the building’s landlord, who chose to blockade entrances to the embassy with vehicles as the spat intensified. During the blockade, Cesar Baena, 30, got into an altercation with the landlord. Baena, a champion skier, said he had struck out after being taunted, and the night before the incident the wife of the landlord had driven past and said “bad words” to him. He also told the court he had felt the man had shown disrespect for his country. In court today, Baena told the court if he had a conviction against his name his international skiing career would be over, as it would limit his ability to travel.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-13/top-venezuelan-skier-avoids-conviction-after-assault/9048198

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

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.”