Venezuela called to appear in Canberra court over missed embassy rent payments – ABC News

The Republic of Venezuela has been taken to court by a Canberra family who alleges the country owes them thousands in unpaid rent money.

Key points:

  • Venezuela is before the court over an alleged failure to pay its rent at its Australian embassy
  • The nation sought to have the claim dismissed, but failed
  • Venezuela is currently facing the worst economic crisis in its history

The Rosa family claimed the South American nation had missed more than $50,000 in rent payments for two properties in O’Malley it had previously used as an embassy.

In documents seeking a hearing in the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the family claimed that from 2017 the republic began to fall behind in payments, and eventually vacated under contentious circumstances.

In October of that year, the embassy made headlines when its landlord blockaded the entrance using a construction vehicle.

Things boiled over when top Venezuelan skier Cesar Augusto Baena Sierraalta struck the landlord, claiming the man had showed disrespect for his country.

Mr Sierraalta pleaded guilty and was released on a good behaviour order, with no conviction recorded.

Hearings to proceed despite ‘diplomatic immunity’

The Republic of Venezuela sought to have the Rosa family’s rent claim dismissed, but the tribunal determined a hearing would proceed.

“I do appreciate that the respondent may be placed in a difficult, and perhaps even diplomatically embarrassing, situation by being required to respond to proceedings in this tribunal,” senior tribunal member H Robinson said in his decision.

“That alone is not a basis upon which this tribunal can or should dismiss these proceedings.”

Venezuela is currently facing the worst economic crisis in its history, marked by hyperinflation, unpayable debts and poverty.

Mr Robinson noted the situation was “clearly volatile” and that the relationship between the parties was “antagonistic”, but said there was merit in the Rosa family’s claim.

“There is a serious allegation that a lot of rent is owed,” he said.

Mr Robinson conceded that, even if a ruling could be made against the Republic of Venezuela, it was questionable whether that could be enforced.

Venezuela said its diplomatic immunity rendered the matter futile.

The next hearing is set down for August.

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About Juan Rodulfo 3378 Articles
Defined by Nature: Planet Earth Habitant, Human, Son of Eladio Rodulfo & Briceida Moya, Brother of Gabriela, Gustavo & Katiuska, Father of Gabriel & Sofia; Defined by the Society: Venezuelan Citizen (Human Rights Limited by default), Friend of many, Enemy of few, Neighbor, Student/Teacher/Student, Worker/Supervisor/Manager/Leader/Worker, Husband of Katty/ Ex-Husband of K/Husband of Yohana; Defined by the US Immigration System: Legal Alien; Defined by the Gig Economy: Independent Contractor Form 1099; Studies in classroom: Master Degree in Human Resources Management, English, Chinese Mandarin; Studies at the real world: Human Behavior; Studies at home: Webmaster SEO, Graphic Web Apps Design, Internet & Social Media Marketing, Video Production, You Tube Branding, Trading, Import-Exports, Affiliate Marketing, Cooking, Laundry, Home Cleaning; Work experience: Public-Private-Entrepreneur Sectors; Other Definitions: Bitcoin Evangelist, Human Rights Peace and Love Advocate. Author of: Why Maslow: How to use his theory to stay in Power Forever (EN/SP), Asylum Seekers (EN/SP), Manual for Gorillas: 9 Rules to be the “Fer-pect” Dictator (EN/SP) Social Media profiles: Twitter/FB/Instagram/VK/Linkedin/Sina Weibo: @rodulfox