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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  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 22:40:47 -0400
    Here’s a Glenn Greenwald talk on Venezuela I found.

    Very informative….

    Goodbye and good luck. May you see the truth.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 22:11:56 -0400
    Ediardp Ferrerp — Glenn Greenwald is the Pulitizer winner. I did NOT send you a link for him as I couldn’t find one easily. I only sent links for Greg Palast and Abby Martin and neither of them are entertainers. They are respected journalists you cand read about on Wikipedia.

    Anyway, I’m done with this thread. I only spend time with people who have open minds.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 22:02:32 -0400
    Protesters in Venezuela being run over by tank.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 21:52:29 -0400
    So you haven’t seen the tanks running over the protesters in Venezuela… it has been in the news all over the world. The victims were not allowed in the hospital, kicked out of the Emergency room and died.
    The videos of the torturers are easy to find, the chavistas provide them.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 21:46:46 -0400
    Yes I did listen to them, no they are not winners of a Pulitzer prize, no they have not been in Venezuela, some of the videos they have are doctored, like erasing license plates on cars, and filmed in Colombia instead of Venezuela.
    They have not talked to Venezuelans, they have talked to Cubans.
    They are not journalists, they are entertainers like the dude from Infowars…
    You need to talk to a real Venezuelan.
    Did you watch the video of the police thugs torturing the protesters? That video is provided by the chavistas in one of their websites. They use it as propaganda about how they treat the “traitors to the revolution”.
    You need to talk to real Venezuelans, not to “entertainers” like Alex Jones.
    You guys are behaving like Trumpist.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 20:01:52 -0400
    Eduardo — the links I posted of Greg Palast and Abby Martin both mention their trips to Veneszuela.
    And both of them are prize winning journalists, NOT entertainers. You obviously didn’t listen to them.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 19:56:26 -0400
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 19:55:37 -0400
    Eduardo — the lFacebook link you posted is corrupt.
    I don’t want to hear anymore propaganda anyway.
    You haven’t convinced me one bit.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 19:24:38 -0400
    I still can’t find a reference for those “entertainers” going ever to Venezuela, and certainly not recently and have not talked to any Venezuelan beyond the inner circle of Maduro.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 19:16:19 -0400
    The only thing accomplished by the occupation by CODEPINK of the Embassy is that the Venezuelans, that used to vote Democrat will now vote against you and support Trump.
    You are doing a great job supporting Trump… congratulations!
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 19:16:18 -0400
    The only thing accomplished by the occupation by CODEPINK of the Embassy is that the Venezuelans, that used to vote Democrat will now vote against you and support Trump.
    You are doing a great job supporting Trump… congratulations!
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 19:10:45 -0400
    Roger, I have family in Venezuela, Greg is just an entertainer that talks about Venezuela without knowing anything, he just listens to the Cuban propaganda.
    We have to send regularly money to help friends and family over there.
    Forget the entertainers and talk to “real Venezuelans”, you can talk to people here in Washington that can get your record straight or if you wish I can contact someone in Venezuela to talk to you.
    You probably think that you need to support Maduro because he calls himself a “socialist” or maybe because you hate Trump. I am probably more left wing than you and my opinion of Trump is even worse than yours.
    Putin and Trump are “friends” and Putin and Maduro are “good friends” also. Doesn’t that tell you something.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 12:01:47 -0400
    Eduardo — Listen and Learn

    Greg Palast BBC Reporter Corrects US Media on Venezuela

    Abby Martin on Venezuela
    What You’re Not Being Told About Venezuela Crisis. w/Abby Martin
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 11:32:46 -0400
    I can’t find any reference for any of those journalists actually going to Venezuela. At least not lately.
    Do you have any pictures of any of them at a real Hospital? at a food line or with people getting water from the sewers?
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 11:26:29 -0400
    Of course, a lot of the Venezuelans loyal to the dictator are in Venezuela.
    A few journalists have been invited by the regime and are given a Potemkin tour. None of the journalists on your list went out to really see what is happening.
    I wonder if you really watched the video of the “tanqueta” running over the people, killing a few on the spot.
    The Vatican, Mexico and some other countries have tried to mediate, but Maduro is not willing to step down, liberate the political prisoners and call for real elections where he does not choose the candidates.
    We came to Venezuela after Chavez promised to turn Venezuela into the Cuban paradise.
    Cuba is not a paradise.
    Talk to real Venezuelans, there are a lot in the DC region, very hardworking people that got here with very little money but with a desire to thrive and wishing to make a future for our kids.
    I could even present you some ex chavistas that really believed in the revolution until the Venezuelan government became just a huge drug cartel.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 10:42:33 -0400
    Eduardo — I only get my information from independent journalists such as Pulitzer Prize winner, Glenn Greenwald, Greg Palast and Abby Martin who have actually been in Venezuela recently.
    You just can’t believe the lies of the main stream media.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-11 09:35:58 -0400
    Eduardo – The loyal Venezuelans are in Venezuela resisting US aggression through iit’s puppet, Guaido.who continues to call for a military uprising. He threatens to plunge the country into a bloody coup that could lead to decades of war. And U.S. economic sanctions are leading to more misery.

    The Mexican government and the Vatican are calling for mediation not war. May it be so.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-11 00:06:43 -0400
    This video is of the National Guard running over the opposition.
    The soldiers in the video accusing Guaido have Colombian uniform and Guaido is not shown.
    Don’t you wonder why there are no Venezuelans inside the Embassy?
    CODEPINK has lost all its credibility by defending a dictator.
    Soon they will be kicked out of the Embassy and they will never recover from their mistake.
  • Judy Ilan
    commented 2019-05-10 22:35:37 -0400
    Viva Venezuela! I am so proud of Code Pink and other activists who are Protecting the Venezuelan Embassy in DC. This so called Venezuelan opposition is showing their true character: street thugs molesting non violent protesters. You can see who the real perpetrators of violence in Venezuela are. Most Venezuelans we meet in North America are from the opposition since the people who support the Bolivarian Revolution cannot afford to travel and learn to speak English. The self appointed, unelected Guaidó camp have profited from the plundering of the Venezuelan oil riches for generations prior to the Bolivarian uprising of the majority poor with several elections of Chavez and now Maduro. These poor people previously lived in horrendous hovels in barrios without medical care, access to affordable food, and had one of the highest illiteracy rates in Latin America. The country is now full of neighborhood medical centers, housing projects and low cost food distribution areas. You can see the people lining up to sign a petition against US intervention in their country. The massive literacy campaign worked: they can write and they are using it. Why would they ever vote in another dictator? The Guaidó gang wants to return this majority to those previous conditions. They will never accept that these low class people have taken power. Of course, to these oligarchs all the elections won by the poor people are illegitimate. Around all of this and breathing down their necks is the oil thirsty American government waiting to snatch the loot. Observe the microcosm at the embassy: the Guaidó guys threatening and harassing the Protectors and the US security/police breaking international law attacking and arresting the Protectors. Power to the Protectors! Viva Venezuela!
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-10 20:24:25 -0400
    By the way… the soldiers on a video have Colombian flags and the license plates are edited out… the guy says that Guaido is in the SUV… that is all.
    The Guardia National actually killed some people that were not allowed to go to hospitals.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-10 20:11:36 -0400
    Roger, the videos are of National Guards operating an anti mutiny truck running over people and “colectivos” running over and shooting live ammunition.
    Talk to someone in Venezuela and stop listening to the Cubans.
    I can give you the names of the Pelizzaris in San Cristobal, they would probably give you real information.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-10 20:07:17 -0400
    Maduro did not call for elections, he just made a mockery calling a group of close friends to “compete” with him in “elections” that were not recognized even by the Carter Center. No opposition candidates were allowed to run. The National Assembly did not approve the elections.
    Maduro’s term is over and he has to surrender power.
    On absentia of a president the head of Congress becomes president, maybe you didn’t know who Guaido is, but that is not reason for anything.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-10 19:58:53 -0400
    The USA wants to take the oil… that is the lamest excuse!
    First… the USA now is a oil exporter, not a bet importer anymore.
    Second… the USA does not have a “National” oil company. We have private companies that are property of shareholders all over the world.
    What is REALLY HAPPENING is that a group not linked in any way to the legal government of Venezuela and last time I checked not one Venezuelan forming part of the group, illegally occupied the embassy.
    The group prides itself on supporting the designs of a murderous and drug trafficking dictator that calls himself “socialist” but is nothing more than a criminal and soon will be in jail with his nephews.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-10 18:22:32 -0400
    What’s really going on in Venezuela and in their Embassy in DC.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-10 17:28:51 -0400
    81% of Venezuelans did not know who Juan Guaidó was two weeks before he appointed himself President. The last election he won was for a seat in the National Assembly in 2015. Two weeks ago he tried to instigate a coup that garnered the support of a few dozen troops. When he called the opposition into the streets, their demonstrations were dwarfed by those in support of the government. The majority of the 192 countries have NOT recognized Guaido’s “government” as legitimate.
    Maduro won the election last year with a large majority and with a share of the total eligible electorate roughly the same as typical US presidents. Most Venezuelans do not view his rule as illegitimate and the majority certainly do not regard Guaidó as their President. Rather Guaidó is widely regarded as a U.S. puppet complicit in crippling economic sanctions that have cost 40,000 Venezuelan lives, and is now looking to spark a civil war or direct U.S. military intervention.
    What we are seeing now with the Embassy is political theater directed by the Trump administration to sell Americans on another war for regime-change. Kudos to the Embassy Protection Collective for standing up to a US violation of internal law.
  • Roger Pelizzzari
    commented 2019-05-10 12:36:50 -0400
    Eduerdo, You are simply misinformed. The videos you mentioned are actually showing Guido’s foreces running over poor Venezuelans.

    This video shows what Venezuelans in the barrio think of Guaido….
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-10 12:00:42 -0400
    Roger Pelizzari, the only guns fired were the ones of the “colectivos”, Maduro’s stormtroopers.
    The GN has run over the protesters with trucks and motorcycles and there are lots of videos showing that.
    There are a few Pelizzaris in Venezuela, maybe you want to talk to one of them.
    The GN has expelled injured protesters from Emergency rooms and thrown teargas bombs inside churches.
  • Christopher Corvino
    commented 2019-05-10 02:20:52 -0400
    Who are your people to speak for all Venezuelans? We never asked for it much less wanted it!
  • Daniel Vila
    commented 2019-05-09 22:19:35 -0400
    Daniel Vila here from WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and would very much like to interview for the station someone who is inside the Embassy of Venezuela. Have already interviewed two people, Lucy Pagoada and Sergio Torres who have been in solidarity outside.
    Would also like for our weekly program of 15 years on WBAI, La Voz Latina.
    You may call me very late as I go to bed around 5 AM…
    Thank you
    Daniel at 718.414.9558