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Paraguay Demands Apology from Venezuela for Aggression against Ambassador

Editorial | La Nacion

Paraguay's Ambassador to Venezuela Ana María Figueredo

Asunción, Paraguay | 14 April 2005 | “We believe this is a serious measure we shall not have to resort to,” thus expounded the Paraguayan Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Martínez Lezcano, as he was consulted yesterday concerning the possibility of recalling back to Asunción the ambassador in Venezuela, Ana María Figueredo, the victim of a case of brutal and outrageous aggression on the streets of Caracas last Friday.

Martínez said that what Paraguay expects is "an explanation from the Republic of Venezuela. Obviously apologies would be a gesture indicating the will of that government, furthermore it is customary for a gesture to be made in this respect," noted the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The ambassador herself confirmed that the Foreign Minister, Leila Rachid, went so far as to consider the possibility of recalling her to Asunción as a gesture of disapproval of what had occurred and, on a different vein, commented that President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, as well as his wife, expressed to her their “indignation” toward the beating she had suffered.

Figueredo was brutally beaten, resulting in one of her eyes still being swollen shut, while she was walking back to her automobile after the mass celebrated at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Caracas on the occasion of the funerals for John Paul II last Friday.

“We understand the Venezuelan government is going to take security measures. We are speaking of a serious act which compromised the physical safety of a person and we are certain that the government is going take corresponding precautions," said Martínez Lezcano.

Figueredo attributed the act to the lack of security experienced by diplomatic legations in Venezuela, where 800 policemen guard the members of the powers that be. "We have been asking them for the last 6 months to assign at least 50 guards to protect the 80 diplomatic representations present in this country. We sent many diplomatic notes, we spoke with friends of the government and there was no response," said Figueredo in declarations to the press.

“This could well be solved by a call from President Chávez to President Duarte, because my face is the battered face of my country,” said the ambassador.

She added that her standing is as "the President of the Republic of Paraguay in Venezuela in the absence of President Duarte. With a call, a conversation or a formal written communication between the foreign ministers, this can be resolved," she insisted.

Figueredo says she is unaware of the motives for the aggression, a matter which, according to what she expressed, she refrained from communicating to the Venezuelan press in order to keep the issue from being introduced into the government vs. opposition antinomies which prevail in Venezuela.

Venezuela Expresses Regrets

Through a press communiqué from the Venezuelan Foreign Office, it was reported that Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean, Eustoquio Contreras, visited, at her official residence, the Ambassador of Paraguay in Caracas, Ana María Figueredo, who is recuperating from the physical aggression she suffered.

"We regret this act of physical aggression to a representative of a country which is a friend of Venezuela and we offer our words of solidarity to her, as a woman, as a human being and fundamentally as a representative of a country in friendship with Venezuela, and of consideration to the government of President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, with whom we maintain the best of relations,” he commented.

The ambassador also assured that “the government will investigate the case and will punish, to the full extent of the law, anyone who is found to be responsible for such a despicable act.”

Translation by W.K.

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