Venezuelan Embassy Attacked in Brazil

Bolsonaro denied any prior knowledge of the attack.

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Social movements gathered on the embassy to confront Guaido loyalists. (EFE)
Social movements gathered on the embassy to confront Guaido loyalists. (EFE)
By Lucas Koerner
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Caracas, November 14, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuela’s embassy in Brasilia was besieged for twelve hours by opposition supporters on Wednesday.

The incident began in the early morning hours when individuals loyal to Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido forcibly entered the diplomatic compound, claiming they had been “invited” by diplomatic staff. The group of around 20 Guaido supporters reportedly scaled the surrounding walls in a bid to seize the facility.

A protracted battle ensued, in which embassy personnel accompanied by left-wing Brazilian congresspeople and social movements succeeded in resisting the attack. The assailants subsequently departed through a backdoor at around 5pm following negotiations brokered by Brazilian diplomats.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry published a statement denying that there had been any contact with Guaido loyalists.

“The Venezuelan government demands that the Brazilian government fulfil its obligations dictated by the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic relations,” the statement said, adding that Brazilian authorities were responsible for removing trespassers from embassy premises and stopping the harassment of diplomatic personnel.

For his part, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro repudiated “interference from external actors.” In a tweet, Bolsonaro added that measures were being taken to avoid acts of violence, in accordance with the Vienna Convention.

The Institutional Security Office of the Brazilian Presidency published a statement condemning the “invasion” of the Venezuelan embassy, while also denying that Bolsonaro had any foreknowledge or had greenlighted the actions.

“There are always unscrupulous individuals who want to take advantage of events to generate chaos and instability,” the statement read.

Relations between Caracas and Brasilia have been strained ever since the election of far-right Bolsonaro in October 2018. Brazil was one of the first countries to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as “interim president” following his self-proclamation in January. Brasilia has granted diplomatic credentials to Guaido envoy Maria Teresa Belandria, but it continues to deal with representatives of the Maduro government in Caracas.

Tensions surrounding attempts to force “humanitarian aid” into Venezuelan in February led to the closing of the southern border with Brazil. The crossings were re-opened in May.

With additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Caracas.

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