Former governors in the front line
Two former Falkland Islands governors currently ambassadors in South America have been in the continent's headlines following threats of possible bomb and fire attacks from radical groups in Peru and Venezuela.
The British Embassy in Lima headed by Richard Ralph received additional protection when Peruvian intelligence was alerted of the possibility of attacks during New Year apparently by local groups linked to Al Qaeda. Fortunately nothing happened. For almost two decades Peru had to endure the "Shinning Path" Maoist oriented guerrilla organization that left ten of thousands civilians killed and billions of US dollars in destruction.
However the alert now is centred in Caracas, capital of politically torn Venezuela, where the United States, British and Spanish embassies have been warned of possible attacks by extremists. Former governor Donald Lamont is currently British Ambassador in Caracas.
The warnings came from Caracas Metropolitan Police in the capital's district of Chacao, both of which report to opponents of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez a vehement and outspoken leader who has divided his country's public opinion in two apparently irreconcilable segments. Mr. Chavez has also managed to profoundly irritate the Bush administration with its close alliance with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and condemnation of the Iraq intervention.
"The alleged threat is against the headquarters of these embassies, which in the case of Spain has been under the permanent protection of the National Guard (militarized police) since the attacks in 2003, and therefore the embassy has not put the Spanish citizens residing (in Caracas) on alert," said a Spanish embassy spokesperson.
The Spanish Embassy and Colombian Consulate in Caracas were bombed in February of last year, leaving three people slightly injured and doing extensive damage to the diplomatic missions.
U.S. and British officials, meanwhile, responded to the warnings by urging their respective citizens residing in this capital to take extra precautions. The British embassy told its citizens residing in Caracas that an attack by a radical group against the diplomatic mission was being planned, but did not name the organization. The U.S. Department of State confirmed it had received information of a "possible threat against U.S. interests in Caracas," and that citizens were "advised to "maintain security awareness".