Wednesday 27 March 2024

Venezuela Cuts Argentine Envoy’s Lights and Water After He Offered to Shelter Dissidents

 The government of Argentina condemned the socialist regime of Venezuela on Tuesday evening for cutting the power and water supply to the Argentine ambassador’s official residence in Caracas.

The socialists reportedly left the residence uninhabitable after Argentina decided to shelter six dissidents close to opposition leader María Corina Machado.

Socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro, after receiving a broad oil and gas sanctions relief package from U.S. President Joe Biden in October, launched a new crackdown campaign,  known as “Bolivarian Fury,”against political dissidents.

Several leading members of Venezuela’s only mainstream center-right party, Vente Venezuela, have been arrested, assaulted, and otherwise persecuted by the Maduro regime as part of the crackdown. The Maduro regime accuses the targeted men and women of being part of unproven assassination plots against the socialist dictator and other members of his authoritarian regime.

Machado, poised to be the frontrunner in a prospective “free and fair” presidential election this year, remains banned from running for or holding any public office. Her substitute candidate, 80-year-old academic Corina Yoris, was not allowed to register her candidacy before the strict deadline imposed by the nation’s top electoral authority expired late Monday evening, effectively leaving Maduro free to run against handpicked rivals in the upcoming July 28 sham presidential election.

Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado speaks during a press conference after candidate Corina Yoris was blocked from registering for July 2024 presidential elections at Quinta El Bejuca on March 26, 2024 in Caracas, Venezuela. Corina Yoris, who was appointed by the alliance Plataforma Unitaria Democratica to replace banned candidate Machado, reported she was unable to access the electoral council website to register her candidacy. (Gaby Oraa/Getty)

The government of Argentina released a statement on Tuesday evening confirming that it had granted shelter to “opposition political leaders” at the official residence of the Argentine ambassador in Caracas in accordance with Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which states that the premises of a diplomatic mission shall be inviolable and cannot be entered by the receiving state except with the consent of the head of the mission.

Argentina does not currently have an ambassador in Venezuela. Its diplomatic mission is led by Chargé d’Affaires Gabriel Volpi a.i.

While the Argentine presidency’s statement does not mention the number or names of political dissidents taken in, Venezuelan opposition sources told the Argentine newspaper La Nación on Tuesday evening that those involved are six dissidents close to Machado and Vente Venezuela, all of whom requested asylum at the Argentine embassy in Caracas.

The Argentine presidency’s statement expressed concerns after the residence lost electrical power on Tuesday, warning the Maduro regime against “any deliberate action that endangers the safety of Argentine diplomatic personnel and Venezuelan citizens under protection.” Buenos Aires reminded the Maduro regime of its obligation to safeguard the facilities of Argentina’s diplomatic mission under the Vienna Convention.

The Argentine outlet Infobae reported that power was cut from the residence after a task group “directly tore out the light fuses.” An Argentine Foreign Ministry source told La Nacion early Wednesday morning that the Maduro regime has also cut water to the residence.

“President Javier Milei urges the socialist Nicolás Maduro to ensure the safety and welfare of the Venezuelan people, as well as to call for transparent, free, democratic and competitive elections, without proscriptions of any kind,” the statement concluded.

The Maduro regime has not made a public statement on the situation at press time.

La Nacion also claimed that sources inside the Maduro regime suggested that the socialist dictator would allow the six dissidents to leave the country after requesting asylum in Argentina.

“Maduro does not want more problems. If they want to leave, let them do so,” the source reportedly told La Nacion. “They are playing theater, because they know that, with any [legitimate] candidate, they will lose the elections.”

Pedro Urruchurtu, a Vente Venezuela member and one of the six dissidents reportedly sheltered at the Argentine residence, publicly thanked the government of Argentina on social media late Tuesday evening for its protection against the Maduro regime’s persecution.

During a regime event that marked the 30th anniversary of late dictator Hugo Chávez’s release from jail after his failed coup attempt in February 1992, Maduro called Vente Venezuela’s members “terrorists” and “psychopaths.” Two Vente Venezuela members were arrested on Monday for allegedly being near Maduro and carrying firearms.

“They were 20 meters from where I was going to be. Who discovered them? The people. They saw them strange. They saw them nervous. They saw them strange and taking pictures of the stage,” Maduro claimed. “They are half-psychopathic people. They are looking for mentally beaten people. Not only here, but also in other places where imperialism is preparing terrorist attacks.”

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