The charge d’affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Kenya, Olga Fonseca, 57, was found strangled to death on Friday (July 27) inside her Nairobi residence.
Although local police are investigating Ms. Fonseca's death, little has been said about the motive or possible suspects by the Venezuelan government.
COMMENT: It is understandable why the police in Caracas are making few public statements, considering their poor record of success in the majority of Part 1 investigations (felonies).
Fonseca, a career diplomat, arrived in Nairobi less than two weeks ago. Ironically, though, her death occurred just days after Kenyan personnel at the Venezuelan Embassy filed a complaint because Fonseca had supposedly unjustly fired them, according to local media. Those employees were reportedly dismissed for refusing to retract their accusations of sexual harassment against Fonseca’s predecessor, Gerardo Carrillo Silva.
For the benefit of our readers, acts of violence against expats and diplomats is not a regular occurrence, yet it does happen from time to time when foreign employers discharge local employees for cause, particularly in countries where the rate of unemployment is very high. Unemployment in Kenya is roughly 40%.
Three ways of avoiding potential conflicts with local staff in foreign countries is by: (1) having local legal counsel review all aspects of compliance with local labor laws; pay generous severance compensation in cases where local staff believe they have been unfairly treated; and (3) effectively vetting local staff before they are employed so as to avoid employing personnel who may be vindictive after the fact.
This report will be updated as new information becomes available.