The work of fitting out and securing the residence and adapting the new headquarters of the Spanish Embassy in Venezuela will cost almost 400,000 euros more than expected, bringing the final cost to more than three million euros, the Council of Ministers reported yesterday.
Specifically, the Council yesterday approved an agreement which takes into account the extension of the emergency declaration for contracting work on the conditioning and security of the Residence and the adaptation of the new headquarters of the Spanish Embassy in Caracas for an estimated amount of 396,564.25 euros.
According to the government, the cause of the emergency processing has been the increase in the activities of the diplomatic representation in Caracas, “with an extraordinary increase in consular services due to the prolonged situation of political instability in that country, and in view of the deficient situation, fundamentally with regard to security, of the various headquarters available to the Spanish state”.
To solve this situation, in December 2018 a building was acquired to house the new unified headquarters that will accommodate the Chancellery of the Embassy, the General Consulate of Spain, the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security, the Commercial Office and other Ministries and Attaché Offices currently installed in the Embassy. To enable the use of the new unified headquarters, it was necessary to carry out adaptation and improvement work on the building in order to comply with the building requirements of Spanish regulations.
On the other hand, this situation also affected the Embassy’s Residence, where, after the work carried out to improve the security of the installations, it was found that it did not have “the essential elements to guarantee the normal functioning of the diplomatic headquarters in the situation of conflict in which the country finds itself, nor does it have secure premises for the officials and police forces sent from Spain to carry out their protection functions”. The Embassy Residence hosted Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López from April 2019 until last October.
In view of this situation, on 19 July 2019 the works contracting file was declared to be in emergency, and the Council of Ministers was right to do so on 23 August 2019. However, during the course of the emergency works, “which have been carried out in a climate of increased insecurity in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”, new needs were detected which forced the company INVERSIONES YC C.A. to present, on 22 October, a new budget – with the agreement of the project management – which represents an increase of 396,564.25 euros compared to the initial budget of 2,806,600.20 US dollars (more than 2.3 million euros).
With this increase, the total estimated amount that includes the necessary actions, according to the budgets presented by the three contractor companies (INVERSIONES YC C.A for the works; CONSULTORES 200 C.A, for technical assistance to the project and management of the works; and SEGURIDAD INDUSTRIAL 2020 C.A, for the coordination of health and safety or prevention of occupational risks), corresponds to the amount of 3,026,309.88 euros.