Venezuelan chargé takes issue with Observer story

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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CHARGÉ d'Affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy Luisa Gutierrez has taken issue with yesterday's Jamaica Observer story reporting on concerns raised about the sustainability of the two-year Spanish programme at the Venezuelan Institute for Culture and Cooperation.

The concerns were raised by some students enrolled in the programme who had told the Observer that there has been little information given on classes that have not been held since exams ended in November last year.

They speculated that the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela might have contributed to the suspension of classes, though nothing formal has been communicated to indicate this.

“We were given a reason as to why we had to wait before restarting the programme, but I'm beginning to wonder now if Jamaica's situation with Venezuela and the steps being taken by the Jamaican Government are having an impact on the institute deciding whether or not to continue with the programme,” said one student, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In response, Gutierrez told the newspaper that classes for basic and intermediate students were not being held because of a lack of resources and not because of any conflict between Jamaica and Venezuela.

Gutierrez said since the institute began operation 45 years ago it has withstood several obstacles, including sanctions against Venezuela.

She said the Spanish programme has benefited many, including the batch of students who graduated in February.

She also said classes for advanced students are being held and that as soon as the institute reorganises itself classes will resume.

“I didn't get resources to do all the levels [but] we will overcome with the only free programme that Jamaica has to teach Spanish. There are many good things Venezuela has done for Jamaica. It's not about the vote against Venezuela; it is just administrative issues. We are overcoming many challenges,” she said.

But yesterday, Gutierrez said the story “distorts the spirit” of her declaration to the Observer and that it “confuses the reader with regard to continuity of cooperation and assistance programmes carried out by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for more than 45 years in Jamaica”.


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