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Published On: Wed, Jul 12th, 2017

Venezuela condemns attack on UN Ambassador in New York

Lucas Koerner (VA) : Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry issued an official statement Monday calling on the United States to guarantee the security of its diplomatic personnel after the country’s UN ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, and his family were attacked in a Brooklyn restaurant by opposition supporters.

Rafael Ramirez_Venezuela UN Ambassador (archives)Ramirez was dining at the Peter Luger Steakhouse Sunday afternoon, when at approximately 4 pm he was accosted by a man and a woman, who accused his government of killing protesters during the past 100 days of violent unrest.

The woman reportedly bit one of Ramirez’s family members before fleeing the scene, shouting “murderer”.

In a video circulated on social media, the male assailant is shown shoving his finger into Ramirez’s face, while one of the diplomat’s relatives subsequently shouts, “Are you going to bite me?” The alleged biting attack is, however, not shown on camera.

In a tweet following the incident, Ramirez claimed to identify the aggressors as Gabriel Manzano and Tatiana Low, both of whom are high-level employees at Citibank.

“These deranged people Gabriel Manzano and Tatiana Low attacked my family. Justice will be done. In anonymity. They think they are in Chacao,” reads the tweet. 

According to La Tabla, Manzano is treasurer and head of markets at Citi Peru, while Low is vice-president for custody and compensation at the same branch. The two are married and have officially resided in Lima since 2013. The New York Police Department has reportedly confirmed Low as a suspect in the case.

Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry, for its part, denounced the incident as part of a “campaign of hate and daily aggression projected against our nation”.

Caracas also demanded that Washington comply with its obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention to protect foreign diplomatic personnel and sanction criminal actions against them.

Attacks on active and former Venezuelan government officials and their families have escalated over the past three months of violent anti-government protests, which have claimed 103 lives to date, including at least 13 killed by authorities and 27 deaths attributable to opposition political violence. Caracas has decried the incidents as part of a “witch hunt abroad” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Lucas Koerner, Venezuelanalysis

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