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Paraguayan Ambassador to Venezuela Brutally Beaten

Editorial | La Nacion

Asunción, Paraguay | 13 April 2005 | The Paraguayan ambassador to Venezuela, Ana María Figueredo, was the victim of brutal physical aggression on one of the streets of Caracas, which literally split her face open from the blows, in addition to injuring other parts of her body, even leaving her unconscious in an incident which occurred last Friday and whose motives are unknown.

The details of the incident were officially communicated by the victim herself in a memorandum directed to the president of the National Congress, Miguel Carrizosa, in accord with her position as senator on leave of absence, according to information furnished yesterday by parliamentary sources.

Ambassador Figueredo was attacked in the vicinity of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Caracas, after participating in the mass celebrated in memory of Pope John Paul II, an event to which were invited the diplomatic corps, members of the various powers of the Venezuelan State and of Venezuela’s civilian society.

"The attack occurred upon exiting the Cathedral, across from the Foreign Office, at the moment in which I was on my way to boarding my vehicle, about five blocks away" from the aforementioned ecclesiastical seat, so expresses the missive sent to our country’s Congress.

It gives details indicating that "the aggression was carried out by a an unknown person with unknown motives, inflicting punches and causing me contusions in the orbital zone (ocular region), the malar (cheekbone) and the left nasal septum; as well as the upper left hemithorax (chest), with loss of consciousness".

Given the situation, the ambassador’s chauffeur picked her up off the ground and carried her to the Venezuelan Foreign Office -which is across from the Cathedral- but at this place they closed the doors on her, for which reason "upon regaining consciousness, and in view of the fact that I was not receiving any assistance from any Venezuelan functionaries, I had to leave on foot” with the help of the chauffeur, thus were the details given in the letter sent by the victim herself.

SOLIDARITY

The president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Upper House, Senator Alejandro Velázquez Ugarte, yesterday got in touch with Figueredo, took in the facts, expressed his solidarity towards her and then sent two memoranda in repudiation of the situation.

He directed one to the president of the Legislative Assembly, that is to say the president of the Congress, Saúl Ortega, and another to his counterpart at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Venezuelan Assembly. Velázquez maintained that Figueredo is a senator on leave of absence, as well as an ambassador, lashed back at the aggression which she had received and urged the Venezuelan authorities to provide her with security.

The Senator from Oviedo related that the President of the Republic, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, as well as the Foreign Minister, Leila Rachid Lichi, are also aware of the aggression to which the lady senator was subjected and they are going to communicate it to the authorities of the aforementioned country.

“For my part, I expressed my complaint to people in the legislative setting in my capacity as president of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, since it has to do with a senator on leave of absence,” related Velázquez.

DIPLOMAT ATTIBUTED THE AGRESSION TO THE OPPOSITION

The ambassador of Venezuela in Paraguay, José Huerta Castillo, attributed the attack to sectors of the opposition against the government of Hugo Chávez.

"The hypothesis I dare advance is that in Venezuela there are constant provocations coming from sectors opposed to our revolutionary process and the embassies have been a target within these provocations. The have done it with the Embassies of Spain, of Colombia and now of Paraguay. We make a record of this as being within a general process of provocations aimed at hindering and weakening our international policy" affirmed Huerta Castillo.

He further underscored that the aggression occurred on a particularly important day in international relations, given that “for the first time the candidate of imperialism did not reach his goal of becoming Secretary General of the OAS.” He clarified that he was referring to the Mexican, Luis Dubrez, who in five rounds of voting tied with the Chilean, Miguel Insulza, in the aforementioned battle.

The diplomat related that he became aware of the incident last Saturday, when he was called in by Paraguayan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs José Martínez, who provided him with the details. He added that he then got in contact with the injured person and expressed his solidarity towards her, after which a memorandum was forwarded to the Venezuela Foreign Office, which is the entity appropriate for making the respective amends "in order to rectify this disagreeable and serious incident".

Translation by W.K.



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