Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06CARACAS2684
2006-09-06 18:55:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Caracas
Cable title:  

MFA PLEDGES TO SPEED UP ACCREDITATION PROCESS; NO

Tags:  AMGT PREL SNAR VE 
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VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #2684/01 2491855
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061855Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6157
C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 002684 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2016
TAGS: AMGT PREL SNAR VE
SUBJECT: MFA PLEDGES TO SPEED UP ACCREDITATION PROCESS; NO
RELIEF ON DIP VISA OR CAR REGISTRATIONS

REF: A. CARACAS 2626

B. CARACAS 2656

Classified By: ACTING MANAGEMENT COUNSELOR O.P. GARZA,
REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

C O N F I D E N T I A L CARACAS 002684

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2016
TAGS: AMGT PREL SNAR VE
SUBJECT: MFA PLEDGES TO SPEED UP ACCREDITATION PROCESS; NO
RELIEF ON DIP VISA OR CAR REGISTRATIONS

REF: A. CARACAS 2626

B. CARACAS 2656

Classified By: ACTING MANAGEMENT COUNSELOR O.P. GARZA,
REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)


1. (C) Summary. A/Management Counselor met September 1 with
MFA Division Chief for Immunities and Privileges Alberto
Armas to press reciprocity issues as a follow-up to Special
Coordinator for Venezuela McCarthy's and Charge's August 28
meeting with MFA Vice Minister Hernandez (Ref A). Armas said
the MFA had adjudicated virtually all of the backlog of
Embassy accreditation requests and would try to adjudicate
future requests in three to five days (Note: This was before
the September 4 announcement that Hernandez would be
replaced). Armas denied any knowledge of the visa request
for the new DEA Chief and attributed the delay in issuance to
the Venezuelan National Anti-Drug office. He offered no
relief on the two-year delays in registering diplomatic
automobiles. Armas also cryptically said the Caracas
municipal mayor's decree to expropriate a golf course (Ref
B),including the DCM's residence and the future Ambassador's
residence, is "very complicated."
End Summary.

--------------
U.S. Accreditation Requests
--------------


2. (SBU) Noting that an embassy official waited over 50
business days before being accredited on August 31, Acting
Management Counselor urged MFA Division Chief for Immunities
and Privileges Alberto Armas Rojas to address such delays
systematically. A/Management Counselor reminded Armas that
MFA Vice Minister Hernandez pledged to address this issue in
her August 28 meeting with visiting Special Coordinator for
Venezuela Deborah McCarthy and Charge. If there are any
concerns about U.S. processing of accreditation requests, the
Embassy stands ready to assist with reasonable requests, but
needs timely feedback. The Embassy also stands ready to
provide needed information electronically, if that would
speed the process up.


3. (C) Noting that he had represented Venezuela at the UN in
New York, at the OAS and the bilateral embassy in Washington,
Armas insisted that he and the other career diplomats in

protocol are doing all they can to expedite Embassy
accreditation requests. Armas said his section has cleared
up almost all remaining accreditation requests and pledged to
process future accreditation requests in three to five days.
"Test me," Armas boasted, "if the Embassy provides a request
with all the necessary information on a Monday, the
credential will be ready for pick-up no later than Friday."


4. (C) Armas cautioned that Vice Minister for North American
Affairs Mary Pili Hernandez would still have to sign off on
all accreditation requests (Note: The MFA subsequently
informed the media September 4 that Hernandez is being
replaced by Venezuelan OAS Ambassador Jorge Valera.) Armas
also cautioned that Venezuela would insist on "reciprocal"
treatment, and urged the USG to avoid implementing an
eight-week delay in processing Venezuelan requests for
accreditation in the U.S. Armas said he would pass "up" the
U.S. offer to move toward electronic processing.

--------------
Diplomatic Visas
--------------


5. (C) A/Management Counselor raised the visa request for the
incoming Embassy DEA chief. Armas passed the buck, claiming
that this visa request is not being adjudicated by the MFA.
Armas said the National Anti-Drug Office has the lead on this
issue and suggested the delay is linked to the BRV's decision
not to sign the addendum to our counternarcotics agreement.
A/Management Counselor stressed that there is no basis for
such linkage.

--------------
Car Registration
--------------


6. (C) Noting that diplomatic personnel may not sell their
personal vehicles until three years after registration,
A/Management Counselor expressed concern that it takes up to
two years to register a diplomatic vehicle in Venezuela.
Armas said he has raised this issue many times with the
Transportation Ministry, and blamed the long delays on the
2004 fire at the Car Registration Office resulting in a
"total collapse" in processing. Armas said his idea for a
special diplomatic vehicle processing window had been
rejected by the Transportation Ministry, but asserted that
the car registration office is starting to tackle the backlog

so that the two-year delays can be reduced.

--------------
Threat of Expropriation
--------------


7. (C) At the end of the meeting, A/Management Counselor
casually asked Armas about the Caracas municipal government's
decree to expropriate land around two Caracas golf courses,
including 22 embassies and diplomatic residences, the DCM's
residence, and the Ambassador's future residence (Ref B).
Armas said he was well aware of the issue, but declined to
say anything more that that issues surrounding the
expropriation decree are "very complicated."

--------------
Comment
--------------


8. (C) Embassy has experienced periodic accreditation delays
for some time. At least one MFA official has admitted to us
that the delays are deliberate, and previous MFA efforts to
eliminate backlogs were fitful and sporadic. Embassy will
continue to monitor the functioning of the MFA's visa and
accreditation process, especially in the wake of the
designation of a new Vice Minister for North American
Affairs. Finally, Embassy requests Department investigate
the question of registration of vehicles owned by Venezuelan
diplomats in the United States, with a view to affording
reciprocal treatment.

WHITAKER