GRA seizes vehicle of Venezuelan Diplomat

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Enforcement officers of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) have seized the vehicle of a Venezuelan Diplomat on the grounds that she owes approximately $2.4M in taxes.

Luz León Guillén, who worked as a First Secretary and a Counselor at the Venezuelan Embassy in Guyana for some three years, told News Room that she was at the Georgetown Public Hospital on October 25, 2018, when her husband informed her that the GRA officers were there to seize the 2003 Land Rover bearing the diplomatic plates.

Luz ceased working at the Embassy since November 2017 and has been waiting on her country to send her ticket back home; she only received that ticket on October 17 and is due to leave Guyana on December 1, 2018.

But she told News Room that she remains in the employ of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Venezuela and even though the vehicle belongs to her, she is authorized to use the diplomatic plates and remains in Guyana under diplomatic status, granted by Article 39.2 of the Vienna Convention.

Luz told News Room that she does not understand how she owes $2.4M in taxes when the vehicle is duty-free and finds the situation to be rather confusing.

Luz has since sought the intervention of Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and wrote a letter to the Director of the Protocol Department explaining what happened.

“I went to Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday [Friday]…this is a horrible situation and they said they cannot do anything,” the Diplomat told News Room.

“I was at the Protocol Department…they said I need to speak to somebody else.”

Luz, who is an Attorney-at-law, Specialist in Negotiation and Resolution of Conflicts, Master in International Studies and Diplomatic Relations, believes that her Human Rights are being trampled on.

“Maybe Guyana does not know that he is being an accomplice in this serious violation of my human rights. I am here with my young children without salaries or medical insurance just waiting for the tickets to arrive,” the Diplomat told News Room.

The Lawyer said she is contemplating taking legal action.

Since leaving her job at the Venezuelan Embassy, Luz said she was forced to work as a translator for Cubans who have appointments at the US Embassy in Georgetown given the fact that the Government of Venezuela has not been paying her salary regularly.

She said she has no intention to prolong her stay in Guyana and has been pleading with her Government for her ticket back home.

According to Luz, she visited the Foreign Ministry in Georgetown on June 25, 2018, to inquire about the process of returning her diplomatic plates so she can use the regular plates and initiate the sale of her vehicle but was told that she needed to submit her return date to Venezuela first.

However, she was not provided with her return date until October 17. Luz said the entire situation is humiliating to her and her family and is pleading with the authorities in Guyana to intervene so her vehicle can be returned to her.

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