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  • The Venezuelan consular building in New York is one of the premises forcibly occupied.

    The Venezuelan consular building in New York is one of the premises forcibly occupied. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 18 March 2019 (18 hours 34 minutes ago)

The forcible occupation of diplomatic premises is a clear violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced Monday that the country’s diplomatic premises in the United States have been forcibly seized by Washington-backed agents. 

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"In a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, our diplomatic buildings have been seized", said Arreaza in an official statement, adding that according to the 1961 Convention "Venezuela's diplomatic assets in the U.S. can only be used by the official personnel that represent the democratic and constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro."

Representatives of the Venezuelan lawmaker and self-proclaimed “interim president”, Juan Guaido, took control of two buildings belonging to Venezuela’s defense ministry in Washington and one consular building in New York Monday, said Guaido’s envoy Carlos Vecchio, with the connivance of the U.S. government. 

This latest attack on Venezuela’s sovereignty comes as a blatant disregard of international law. According to Art. 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “the premises of the mission shall be inviolable.” The article continues by assuring that the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission and is under a special duty to protect the diplomatic mission against any intrusion or damage. 

Even in a rupture in diplomatic relations and supported by art. 45, the receiving nation must continue respecting foreign properties, as the Venezuelan government has done with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. 

Arreaza has asked  Trump’s administration to  “take the necessary measures to immediately reverse this forcible occupation” yet continued, “that if the U.S. government continues to disregard international obligations, Venezuela's government reserves its right to take legal actions and reciprocal actions in its territory.” 

Despite an ongoing series of interventionist remarks made by U.S. Senators and high ranking officials, the Venezuelan government informed March 13 that it hopes to normalize diplomatic relations with the North American country, hoping the UN will serve as a mediator.

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