Three male employees at the Venezuelan embassy in Nairobi have filed formal complaints with Kenya’s Diplomatic Police Unit accusing acting Ambassador Gerardo Carrillo Silva of “constant sexual harassment,” the Nairobi Star reports.
The men who filed the complaints are Kenyan nationals. One is the ambassador’s driver, the second is a longtime cook at the ambassador’s residence, and the third is a private security official who resigned from his job as a watchman for the ambassador’s residence due to Carrillo Silva’s alleged sexual improprieties.
Carrillo Silva’s alleged homosexuality is not the issue. Readers should not infer that Caracas Gringo is gay bashing.
There are two important aspects to this matter.
First, Carrillo Silva’s alleged improprieties bring international shame and dishonor to the Republic of Venezuela. All Venezuelan diplomats serving in foreign posts always, and without any exceptions, must represent the Republic of Venezuela honorably and responsibly. Anything less is completely unacceptable.
Second, homosexuality is a serious criminal offense under Kenyan law. Sections 162, 163 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code of 1930, as revised in 2006, stipulate that homosexuality is a felony punishable with prison terms ranging from 7 years up to 21 years depending on the nature of the offense.
These statutes contradict the Kenya Constitution that was enacted on 27 August 2010, specifically Articles 2, 19, 24, 27, 28 and 31, which refer to individual rights and freedoms, non-discrimination, human dignity and privacy.
But the constitution of Kenya does not expressly protect the rights of LGBT Kenyans because Kenyan culture/society is overwhelmingly intolerant of homosexuality.
The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project found that 96% of Kenyan citizens believe that homosexuality is an unacceptable way of life, the fifth highest rate of non-acceptance of the 45 countries that were surveyed.
LGBT Kenyans are striving at great risk to their lives and human dignity to change social/cultural attitudes in their country.
Venezuelan Ambassador Carrillo Silva’s alleged sexual improprieties not only shame and dishonor the Republic of Venezuela; they also arguably hurt the efforts of LGBT Kenyans to gain greater legal protections and social/cultural acceptance in their country.
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro must recall Ambassador Carrillo Silva to Caracas immediately and offer a formal written apology to the government and people of Kenya – assuming, of course, that Maduro has an ounce of common sense and diplomatic prudence. Anything less only will compound the shame and dishonor that Carrillo Silva has inflicted on Venezuela.