Until 2019 Venezuela had diplomatic and / or consular representation in 90 of the 193 countries that, together with our nation, make up the international community.
Victor Castellanos – February 10, 2020
Today, after a year of recognition by some countries of the self-proclamation of Juan Guaidó, along with the coup d’etat against Evo Morales and a lot of microphone diplomacy, the Venezuelan government keeps the same diplomatic and / or consular relations with 94.4% of those countries.
Background noise: And of those 90 countries with which the government of Nicolás Maduro had relations before the self-proclamation of Guaidó in January 2019, relations with only five countries have been broken, all in the Western hemisphere.
Venezuela’s diplomatic and consular relations with Bolivia, the United States, Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay are broken and consequently the embassies and consulates of those countries in our territory are closed and we do not have effective representation in them neither.
The rest, although some relations have been degraded to an absence of ambassadors, all the consular sections, consulates and consulates general of Venezuela that were in service in 2019 are right now exactly where they were before.
“There was an ambassador of whom I asked: who do you think the President is? And he answered, the one who answers the phone in Miraflores. I understand then that if I call Miraflores, maybe Maduro answers.”
The quotation corresponds to Eduardo Fernández, an opposition politician who, during an interview with Madelein García, a Telesur journalist, expressed his opinion about the recognition of the presidency of Nicolás Maduro.
The example is useful to illustrate what happens in most countries whose governments express recognition of the figure of Juan Guaidó as interim president.
These are, in some cases, administrations that also adopt coercive measures against senior officials of the Venezuelan government, have accepted the presence of envoys of the deputy Guaidó and try to suffocate the national economy, giving the impression of a diplomatic rupture for public consumption, but that in practice, recognize the government of Nicolás Maduro and maintain the same diplomatic relations that existed before the self-proclamation.
In other words, even if a government admits a representative of the deputy as a diplomatic agent, and considers Guaidó as the president in charge, they do not ignore the diplomatic and / or consular staff representing President Maduro, which by all international standards is at least very irregular as expressed by the German Bundestag in 2019 a few weeks after Guaido self-proclamation.
Such is the situation of the governments that, although they claim to recognize the deputy as “president in charge,” have no Venezuelan diplomatic representation in their territory or missions in our country and these are Finland (where the relationship is by concurrence with Norway), Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Meanwhile, in Germany, the one appointed by the Bolivarian government, continues to be the ambassador of Venezuela, although the Chancellery of Angela Merkel accepted a “personal” representative of the self-proclaimed.
A similar case, but with less relevance in diplomatic terms, is that of Switzerland, where the representative of the deputy has no credentials and the Venezuelan mission works with the personnel sent by Maduro.
Then, on another level are the countries whose governments have a Guaidó representative but the Venezuelan diplomatic missions designated by the President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, are the only ones with political and territorial effectiveness.
These European countries are Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Portugal, United Kingdom and Greece.
There are also representatives of Guaido in Croatia (although there is no Venezuelan embassy but a concurrence with Austria), Denmark (where there is no embassy but a concurrence with Norway) and Luxembourg (where there is also no Venezuelan embassy but concurrence with Belgium).
For the remaining countries, the Vatican, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Norway, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and Romania, only the Bolivarian government is recognized and there are only diplomatic missions sent by Nicolás Maduro.
In the case of the three countries that make up the northernmost area of the continent, the situation is very particular in each one.
This nation requested the withdrawal of Venezuelan personnel at embassies (expulsion) and voluntarily removed their diplomatic personnel, but the parties agreed to maintain consular relations and the Canadian consulate in Caracas and the Venezuelan consulates of Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal remain open.
The relationship between Miraflores and the White House has been tense for several years, but they reached the point, in 2019, when the national government decided to break relations with the American one.
However, the administration of Donald Trump alleges that, by not recognizing the government of Nicolás Maduro, it has not broken with Venezuela. They allege that -supposedly- government relations between Trump and Guaidó are maintained.
It is an atypical circumstance, perhaps unprecedented, in which a government did not accept the rupture with the government that actually governs and relates to another that does not exercise any control in the territory.
In practical terms, all US diplomatic and consular representations in Venezuela and Venezuelans in the US are closed.
In addition, although in Washington there is a diplomatic agent from Guaidó, recognized by Trump, no act performed by that person is valid in Venezuela.
There is also no US embassy or consulate in our territory.
Venezuela, in order to avoid further detriment to its citizens abroad and foreigners from the US in Venezuela, presented an offer of opening Offices of Interest via the Turkish diplomatic corps in the US and via the Swiss diplomatic corps in Venezuela (representing the US).
“The offer was not accepted by the US Department of State and at that moment many consider it as an act of the tradittional US arrogance but later the US announced the seizing of CITGO and other Venezuelan assets abroad, indicating that they were “transfering’ them to the only government they regognize. Ie. Guaido’s, so they needed no relations with Maduro’s government to advance in that looting front” a diplomatic expert said to OT.
The relations between the government of Nicolás Maduro and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, are totally normal and functional.
The relations of the national government with the seven Central American nations are totally normal with the exception of Costa Rica.
Venezuela keeps its representation open in Belmopan without any change.
The case of the Costa Rican government is similar to that of the United States, since they claim that they have not broken relations with Venezuela, through a link with Deputy Guaidó, but in practical terms, neither their missions in Venezuela nor ours in Costa Rica are in operation.
Although President Alejandro Giammattei announced that his government was “definitively” breaking relations with the “government of Venezuela”, at the filing of this article, the situation was completely normal in diplomatic and consular terms.
The situation between Caracas and Tegucigalpa is the same as in the case of Belize, there is no change.
No embassies: the withdrawal of Venezuelan personnel from the embassy in San Salvador was requested by President Bukele and Venezuela had to reciprocate with the diplomatic representatives in Caracas; consular relations are working.
Venezuela keeps its representation open in Managua without changes.
No embassies: the withdrawal of Venezuelan personnel from the embassy was requested by Panamian authorities, and Venezuela was forced to reciprocate; the consular section in Panama is functioning, as well as the Panamanian consulate in Caracas.
In this sub-region of the continent, the matter is also varied, but the only cases of rupture are those of Bolivia, Colombia and Paraguay.
In this southern country, President Alberto Fernández withdrew the credentials that Macri granted to the envoy of Guaidó, however, the embassies and consular sections of each nation in the territory of the other were always open and are still open.
Following the coup against Evo Morales, the government of Venezuela does not recognize the de facto government of Áñez and our staff was expelled from that nation by the de facto Bolivian government’s request.
In practical terms, diplomatic relations are broken as well as consular relations.
Before the rupture, Caracas withdrew diplomatic credentials (without expelling or declaring a person non grata) from military attaches, in reaction to the participation of the armed forces in the coup. The credentials and privileges for the rest of the diplomatic and consular representatives of Bolivia at that time remained intact.
Bilateral relations, both diplomatic and consular, remain completely normal, despite the presence of the agent appointed by Guaidó in Brasilia.
This is evidenced by the response of the Brazilian prosecutor to the Venezuelan Public Ministry for the extradition of those involved in the assault on the barracks in Bolívar, on January 3, indicating that the matter will be dealt between both foreign ministries.
Although there is an agent appointed by Guaidó and recognized by Sebastian Piñera, relations are regular. Venezuelans in Chile and Chileans in Venezuela have consular services.
Relations between Miraflores and Casa de Nariño are totally broken.
The case is very similar to that of the United States, but Venezuelan diplomatic and consular offices in Colombia have not been violated as they were in Washington, DC.
This case gained special relevance after President Duque’s refusal to request the government of Nicolás Maduro extradite the former senator Aída Merlano; instead, he asked the deputy Guaidó, or says he will.
The government of Lenín Moreno requested the withdrawal of Venezuelan personnel accredited in Quito and withdrew theirs from Caracas.
Then, the Venezuelan consular section in the Ecuadorian capital became a general consulate and the consulate general of Guayaquil is still fully operational, as is the Ecuadorian consulate in Caracas.
As with Costa Rica, relations are totally suspended; that is, no consulates or embassies in operation.
The relations between Venezuela and its neighbor, with whom it maintains a territorial dispute for many years, is one of total normality.
Without embassies: Venezuelan personnel in Lima and Peru in Caracas were withdrawn, but the Venezuelan consular section in Lima is working, as well as the Peruvian consulate in Caracas.
Trinidad and Tobago
Diplomatic relations are fully operational.
It is the same case of relations with the Trinitarian government; they are fully operational.
The new government of Uruguay recognizes Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela and embassies and consulates function normally.
The missions of Venezuela in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, Dominica, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia work without incident, regardless of the recognition that the governments of Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo have given to Guaidó.
Venezuela maintains diplomatic and / or consular relations with Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Qatar, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, India, Singapore, Iran, Lebanon, China and Vietnam.
Only Japan and South Korea recognized the self-proclamation of Guaidó in 2019 but they keep their diplomatic representations in Caracas fully operational.
Venezuela only has diplomatic and consular relations with Australia, whose government recognized Guaido and accepted a diplomatic agent of the deputy, but the diplomatic mission representing the government of Nicolás Maduro remains fully operational and with the all their diplomatic prerogatives.
The Embassy in Australia is concurrent with New Zeland, this means that if any Venezuelan citizen, natural or legal, needs a consular process while in New Zealand, he must go to Canberra.
Diplomatic Relations vs. Consular Relations
In plain terms, the difference between diplomatic and consular relations is that the first are the link between the governments of the countries that decide to recognize each other at the highest political level (Ambassador or Charge D’Affairs) while the latter address the issues between their citizens and companies in their relations with each country.
While consulates are based in any city, embassies are based in the capital city of each country. There is no need of symmetry, that is, there can be embassies without consulates and vice versa.
In an embassy there may be a consular section, where the staff in charge of the consul works, without overlapping the diplomatic functions of the embassy.
In the consulates, foreigners do paperwork (visas or commercial documents) with this foreign government and nationals process documents with their own government, like passports and civil registry transactions.
Diplomatic agents and relations between nations
Perhaps one of the subjects that is most confusing about Venezuela’s diplomatic relations is the fact that some of the governments recognizing the self-proclamation of Deputy Juan Guaidó have also admitted President Maduro’s representatives in their territories.
To clear up the doubts, the Vice Minister of Economic Cooperation of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, Ramón Gordils, was consulted. He indicated that the existence of that figure, which the press calls ambassador, does not mean either the rupture of diplomatic relations, or formal non-recognition of President Maduro’s government.
“They talk about a diplomatic agent, which covers a wide range of responsabilities granted by that condition,” he said. He explained that it doesn’t reffer to the traditional vision of a head of diplomatic mission accredited by a government in the territory of another country.
Peace processes: Gordils illustrated his explanation with the example of “Captain de Navío, Rodríguez Chacín, in his capacity as Venezuelan observer, companion and protector of the peace process between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), and the National Liberation Army, (ELN) which granted him, as the rules stipulate, the status of diplomatic agent before the governments of Colombia, Cuba, Norway and all the participants and guarantors in that process.
Good officiant: He referred to another diplomatic figure, this time of very old usage, which also directly concerns Venezuela, the “good officiant”, as in the case of Dag Nylander, a Norwegian diplomat who currently acts as the personal representative of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, to seek a negotiation between our country and neighboring Guyana in the territorial dispute over the Essequibo territory.
Nylander is commonly referred to as a good officiant, and acts on behalf of a person who, on his own behalf, must deal with countless issues and delegates. That function applies only in Caracas and Georgetown, who recognize him and grant him the privileges of the case.
That is the case, in most of the scenarios, of those sent by Guaidó, as president of the Venezuelan Parliament in 2019, without meaning a break in diplomatic or consular relations. And of course, far from what an “ambassador” means.
Source URL: Ultimas Noticias with OT content
Translated and edited by JRE/EF