Activists Continue to Hold Venezuelan Embassy in Washington

Members of the Embassy Collection Protective have written phone numbers of their attorneys on their arms.

By Pat Elder, World BEYOND War

It is Thursday evening and I am reporting from a meeting of the Embassy Protection Collective in the ambassador’s conference room in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. 

Determined activists are currently discussing the logistics of their continued struggle to retain possession of the embassy. They have managed to overcome a host of challenges since responsibility for the embassy was officially turned over to them when Venezuelan diplomats who represent the legitimate government of Nicolas Madero were forced out of the U.S. last week.

Activists are currently unable to enter the building. When members of the collective arrive at the embassy, Guaido supporters, right-wing extremists, sound an ear-piercing alarm, similar to the blaring sound of an emergency vehicle, to rally opposition folks to physically block activists from entering and to seize the opportunity to storm the compound. Meanwhile, Secret Service Police explain to the barred activists that they’re precluded from entering because they don’t have authorization from the “legitimate authorities,” meaning representatives from the Guaido government.

The dozen or so Secret Service officers seem to have bonded with a few dozen pro-coup forces who have displayed outrageous, unruly behavior like the blaring bullhorns that are sounded a few inches from the faces of anti-coup folks, many of whom had been in the embassy but left and were precluded from re-entering the building. The angry, combative counter-protesters have bullied the highly-disciplined peace activists and covered the ground floor windows with pro-Guaido literature.  The Guaido folks have been free to bang on the exterior doors while the police stand idly by. They have destroyed exterior surveillance cameras and destroyed embassy property.

Legitimate Venezuelan authorities with the Maduro government in Caracas say the possible takeover of the embassy in Washington by Guaido’s people represents a “grave violation” of the United States’ responsibilities and violates international law. Venezuelan diplomats gave the keys to the embassy to the activists with permission to remain until a permanent protectorate can be found.  President Maduro is aware of the situation and extends his support to the Embassy Protection Collective.

On Thursday afternoon, the Secret Service allowed in some food and medicine while the State Department has granted a meeting with members of the Embassy Protector Collective: Code Pink co-founder, Medea Benjamin, DC attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, and ANSWER Coalition Director Brian Becker. As of Thursday evening, that meeting had not yet taken place. Meanwhile, activists in the compound are hopeful they can retain possession of the premises. 

Verheyden-Hilliard slammed the Secret Service and the DC Metropolitan Police in a letter earlier Wednesday. She wrote, “Your officers are acting as aiders, abettors, encouragers, and joint tort-feasors in the assaultive, menacing, threatening and at times violent conduct against the lawfully present peace activists at the embassy by a mob of right-wing thugs,”

The activists in the embassy understand this is an historic moment. Adrienne Pine, an Anthropology Professor at American University, is among the members of the collective in the embassy. She echoed a theme among the activists that Americans generally have a poor grasp of history.  She explained her presence, “The 2009 U.S.-supported coup in Honduras led to a murderous, neoliberal fascist dictatorship. The subsequent U.S.-backed legislative coup that ousted Dilma Rousseff in Brazil led to Bolsonaro’s openly fascist regime, which threatens the survival of the entire planet. There is no way I could not be here, knowing what I do about where this coup—if successful—would inevitably lead.”


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  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-15 09:09:20 -0400
    Nobody is invading Venezuela and nobody is invading Iran. Both would be suicidal and a ruin for the USA.
  • Billy Merrick
    commented 2019-05-15 00:04:00 -0400
    lama botas de john bolton y elliot abrams! no saben nada de historia. quieren atacar iran también.
  • Billy Merrick
    commented 2019-05-15 00:00:05 -0400
    once again a lot of sheep dips out there. lama boots de john bolton y elliotb abrams. no saben nada de historia. queren aracar iran tambian.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-14 19:30:50 -0400
    BBC News – Venezuela crisis: What remains of the Caracas middle-class?
  • Sebastián Posada
    commented 2019-05-14 11:20:29 -0400
    I can’t believe there’s people stupid enough in the USA to support Nicolás Maduro, can’t you see what he’s done with Venezeuela, can’t you see the disaster Chavez’ legacy is?

    Are you really fighters for freedom, or communist tyrants supporters?
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-14 09:40:26 -0400
    Billy… why do you think we are sheep? We know what really happens in Venezuela and contact our families and friends over there most every day.
    The invaders of the Embassy are being told somethin by people that have never been in Venezuela what some Cubans that have a vested interest on keeping the drug trafficker dictator Maduro in power.
    We know what happens first hand.
    You are told what “someone” wants to tell you and refuse to listen to any real source.
    Who is the “sheep”.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-14 09:20:49 -0400
    More or less what I was telling them Christopher. They complain about Alex Jones but listen to “experts about Venezuela” that don’t speak the language and have never ever been in Venezuela.
    Some of the “videos” are filmed in Colombia and in others say the “colectivos” are the opposition…
    Completely clueless!!!
    And they feel they need to “defend Venezuela” and protect a drug trafficker dictator.
  • Christopher Corvino
    commented 2019-05-14 04:14:02 -0400
    you leftwing americans are lot more like your rightwing so called pro imperialist types then you wish to admit. Juan Guaido was popularly elected. I seem to recall that you americans went nuts when Trump was elected despite his opponent getting the popular vote. Your a pot calling the kettle black. And for the record trying to tell us who to support is in itself imperialism. Who are you non venezuelans to play thought police and tell us who to support? Maduro has done nothing for our country other then set us back 20 years economically. If you lived in Venezuela you would know this already. ANd since you don’t your in no position to judge those of us who want Maduro out!
  • Billy Merrick
    commented 2019-05-13 23:13:08 -0400
    Sure have a lot of Venezuelan sheep dips out there. Juan guide the biggest sheep dip of all times. Friends of john bolton for sure
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-13 14:12:41 -0400
    CODEPINK seems to be afraid of talking to real Venezuelans, they prefer stay ignorant of the real situation of Venezuela and keep supporting the drug cartels in Venezuela because the chavistas call themselves “socialists”.
    CODEPINK used to have a reputation but prefers to keep it tarnished instead of correcting course.
    They don’t understand that their actions will push a lot if people towards the Trump side.
  • Margarita Rodriguez
    commented 2019-05-13 08:31:55 -0400
    JUdy Ilan

    you are clueless. Chavez was the biggest lier of all times. He has taken Venezuela to the deep end and Muduro finished it.

    1) Education is Venezuela has always been free. This is so, that you call white extremist. My father is a physician, he is 90 years old, he was poor and he got an education.
    2) before Chavez there was poor people, now there is no middle class because all the middle classs have become poor.
    3) you are taking sides with a CORRUPT REGIME,. SHAME ON YOU AND ALL YOUR PEOPLE
  • Margarita Rodriguez
    commented 2019-05-13 08:27:00 -0400
    Roger Pelizzari

    1) Did you know that a lot of terrorism is financed by Venezuela?
    2) Our minerals are used to be exported and to create weapons fo mass destruction by other powers?

    So, what peace are you talking about if war is really in your back yard if it is not STOP.

    Venezuelans are a pacifist .
  • Margarita Rodriguez
    commented 2019-05-13 08:24:59 -0400
    Roger Pelizzari . Did you know that the Russians and the Chinese have had their hands in Venezuela for a long time.

    2) Do you know that Venezuela is only 3 hours away from the Us coast and the Russians want a base there.
    3) Do you know what kind of power and missile launching the Russians will have if they do? A threat to the US. We are only 30minutes away from Puerto Rico, 3 hours away from Miami
  • Margarita Rodriguez
    commented 2019-05-13 08:22:27 -0400
    Roger Pelizzari What are you talking about racist opposition. You guys are clueless. In venezuela we do not have racism. All we have is a CORRUPT REGIME THAT prefers to have their people hungry and sick. The Maduro regime has stolen all our money leaving people no choice but to leave the country.
  • Margarita Rodriguez
    commented 2019-05-13 08:19:24 -0400
    Codepink does not understand or really care about what is going on in Venezuela.
    1) you are invading a Venezuelan territory in another country,
    2) Maduro cannot invite you to be there when he is in Power illegibly, not recognized by VEnezuelans. The opposition was not there, the elections are rigged and even the company that runs the elections declared so.
    3) the suffering in Venezuelan has been going for years and worsen in the last 5 years
    4) Muduro´s regime is a Narco state. They ship must of the cocaine is consumed here in the States. His own nephews are in jail wanting to transport 800 kilos of coccaine into the States
    So you are clueless.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-13 07:50:50 -0400
    By the way, most of the supporters of Guaido are not right wing extremists. Since 1958 all the Venezuelan presidents have been from social Democrat or Social Christian party. Even the dictator before that was a populist from a liberal party.
    There were no credible “right wing” parties in Venezuela and the myths of “death squads” was created by the Cubans that are the ones supporting the international image of Maduro.
    CODEPINK needs to listen to the real Venezuelans and understand that supporting a dictator is not a good thing.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-12 21:00:00 -0400
    Roger, Pallast is basically clueless.
    Explain what State oil company will take the oil.
    The oil excuse is just a Cuban invention.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-12 20:57:00 -0400
    By the way Judy, alphabetization in Venezuela is very old. We had mandatory free education since the 1800s.
    I went to college for free and so did my father.
    Project ACUDE in the 80s made the remnants of analphabetism disappear.
    The Chavistas did not create Public schools or public hospitals or basically anything. They most likely destroyed them.
    Most of the Venezuelans in the USA are not rich or were not when we got here.
    The rich people in Venezuela are the Chavistas.
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-12 20:49:39 -0400
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-12 20:30:49 -0400
    Judy… now we have the “colectivos” that are Maduro’s death squads.
    Before there were never death squads.
    Talk to a real Venezuelan and not to the Cubans.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-12 20:28:48 -0400
    Roger, if you check you will see that Guaido is not Arian at all and that in Venezuela all of us are mestizos, so as always, when you follow the line of the Cubans you are wrong.
    Besides, the USA is a net oil exporter and there is not a National oil company… so wrong again.
    Talk to real Venezuelans not to Cubans.
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-12 17:41:10 -0400
    May the people of Venezuela survive the racist opposition and the greed of those who want to steal its oil. Peace.
  • Sergio Arguello
    commented 2019-05-12 16:54:31 -0400
    Shame on you, serving a bloody corrupt dictator and make it more difficult to the poor people of Venezuela … it’s hard to believe that you are ignorant… I hope you are not as corrupt as well
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-12 16:53:26 -0400
    Judy — Thank you for the truth of the situation.
    May the people of Venezuela survive this and flourish again.

  • Judy Ilan
    commented 2019-05-12 16:08:56 -0400
    It seems that Venezuelan Americans and affluent Venezuelans have an idealized version of their history. Venezuela was run by death squads. It had one of the highest illiteracy rates in Latin America and most of the citizens had never seen a doctor. The vast majority of the people lived in horrible hovels. While you had your lovely life you remember so fondly, the majority of Venezuelans lived a life of starvation and terror. Hugo Chavez led these people to the various times elected Bolivarian Revolution which brought a new life to these deprived Venezuelans: medical centers all over the country, a literacy program that wiped out illiteracy, food distribution centers, housing programs, land distribution program out of the city, university centres in neighbourhoods,
    highways, bridges, transit systems built all over the country, and many more benefits. Yes the people are literate and they VOTE! All this has been accomplished in spite of a vicious opposition that has sabotaged, ravaged, destroyed, organized coups, murdered, kidnapped, tortured, any method possible to return themselves to power. You can see them outside the embassy with their sledgehammers. They refer to themselves as “the real Venezuelans”. It seems that the huge majority of the rest of the country are not Venezuelans but rather less than human peons. Of course looming in the background is Uncle Sam fanning the fire to take back its “backyard”. Viva Venezuela! Viva Code Pink! 6.2 million votes for Maduro…….
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-12 10:26:05 -0400
    Green Greenwald is just a left wing Alex Jones… siding with a drug trafficker dictator and covering his crimes is comparable to the conspiracy theories of Alex Jones… and to defend themselves both blame the “mainstream media” that according to Jones is left wing and according to Greenwald is right wing.
    Both have issues dealing with facts and both have issues talking to real people.
    Conspiracies are more interesting than facts.
  • Victor Templer
    commented 2019-05-12 10:25:17 -0400
    Codepink is an integral dissenting voice in this left vs right insane clown show.
    Thank you.
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-12 08:42:57 -0400
    You keep mentioning Alex Jones, someone I detest.
    I offered you Glenn Greenwald, one of the most respected journalists in the world, so stop whining.
    You seem unable to think clearly.
    Get some rest.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 23:06:07 -0400
    Yes, the trucks were burnt by a cocktail molotov thrown by someone in the opposition side.
    That was uncovered by BBC and CNN actually, they took the videos that proved it.
    What was the stupid that threw the cocktail thinking God only knows because from the position he was the only thing he was going to hot was the truck in front of him. He was either a complete stupid, a chavista infiltrator or a combination of both.
    But, that someone of the opposition burned the trucks, as it was already admitted, does not make ok to kill people with the tanquetas.
    I tell you agai, talk to real Venezuelans and not to entertainers.
    If you listen to someone like Alex Jones you can’t complain if the Trumpist do the same.
    You talk about the mainstream media the same way they do… very weird.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 22:53:02 -0400
    So you don’t care about the murders in Venezuela as long as the murderers are leftist?
    You seem afraid of talking to real Venezuelans and hide behind an Alex Jones. Talk to the real people that have to deal with Maduro and forget about entertainers that have never been in Venezuela or have only been given a Potemkin tour.