The crisis in Venezuela and the shortage of foreign exchange has not only affected people in Venezuela; it has also directly affected its diplomatic officials abroad.
The government, headed by Nicolás Maduro, owes at least two months salary to all its officials at its embassies and consulates around the world. The reason? “There is no foreign currency.”
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Already last November 17, the Chavista website “Aporrea” reported on the closure of the Venezuelan consulate in San Francisco due to “bankruptcy.” According to the website employees were forced to resign because they were not being payed.
But the situation at this consulate has been repeated in all of Venezuela’s embassies and consulates around the world, because the Venezuelan state does not send them adequate resources. The government has insufficient foreign currency and therefore its diplomatic missions have been two or three months behind in paying their employees.
The official responsible for explaining why the government is unable to pay said salaries is the Yomaira Castillo, the head of Accounts Payable in the Chancellor’s Office, based out of Caracas.
A diplomatic source who asked to remain anonymous told the PanAm Post that the regime of Nicolás Maduro has not paid salaries at its diplomatic missions for the past two months. Such is the case with the Venezuelan diplomatic corps in Colombia.
Neither the ambassador, nor the consuls, nor the diplomats have received their payment for two months. Even more serious is that the military responsible for safeguarding the Venezuelan embassy has not been paid in a year.
The source informed PanAm Post that in the case of Colombia and specifically in Bogota, the government has been forced to reduce military personnel because “there is no way to pay them.”
“Good afternoon to all. This communication is to inform you that the payroll for the month of October will be paid on Wednesday 07/12/2016 and it will be between 08/12 and 12/12/2016 when it will arrive in your accounts. Anything I can help you with, please let me know (…) ?? I will advice you regarding the November payroll during the coming week.”
That was the message that diplomatic officials received on Wednesday to let them know that the October payment is supposed to be received in December; and that the date of the corresponding payment for the month of November is unknown.
In Colombia, for example, Venezuela has 46 diplomatic staff. Just in the embassy in Bogotá alone, Venezuela owes its 23 diplomats approximately, USD $184,000 in total.
The income of a credentialed official is a minimum of USD $4,000, while the monthly salary of a consul is around USD $5,000 and that of an ambassador around USD $7,800.
It should also be noted that members of the diplomatic missions are afraid to complain about this non-payment by the government, for fear of losing their jobs.
According to the same source, four diplomats were dismissed last year for criticizing state policies and for disagreements with the Venezuelan ambassador in Colombia.
However, given their desperation, the consulates in Bucaramanga, Medellin, Cartagena, and Bogota are planning to go on strike to pressure the government into paying them. But after discussions with Caracas regarding the delayed payments, the protest is in “wait and see” mode.