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.”

Comments

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  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-09 12:57:46 -0400
    Guido has proved that he cares very little for the lives of Venezuelans as his men have shot live ammunition in their coup attempts.
    In contrast, President Madura instructed his soldiers to use only rubber bullets and tear gas.
    In any other country, Guido would already be in prison for treason.
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-09 10:18:55 -0400
    The far-right fascists in the USA are doing the same thing to Venezuela that they once did to Mexico. Long ago, the war with Mexico started by whites going to Mexico to live; they were welcomed by the people. Over time, more and more whites went there to live; once there was enough support from the whites, they started a coup against the Mexican government. That’s how we ended up with the state of TEXAS; we stole it from Mexico. They are doing the same thing in Venezuela; now that they have enough whites there, they are creating a coup to oust the native brown people from their own government.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-08 23:33:04 -0400
    First, Carter Center has not certified elections in Venezuela since Chavez died… so you need to update your data. Actually they were “advised not to go”. The last time they were in Venezuela they left the country in a hurry and “certified” the elections without checking much in the rush to leave.
    Then… sorry, Guaido is not a puppet, if you take the time to read the Venezuelan constitution you will find out that in absentia of a president Guaido becomes interim president and has to call for elections.
    Maduro’s term is over and he didn’t call for elections.
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-08 22:42:18 -0400
    Guido is puppet of the US trying to overturn Maduro who elected by popular vote. In fact, former President Carter said that Venezuela has had the most fair elections of any nation he;s monitored.

    US aggression is an old story in S. America. Now they want to take the oil and will do anything to get it. They brought the sanctions to starve the people and cause an uprising. But the people don’t want the US there and are standing behind Maduro. Heaven protect them.
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-08 22:17:38 -0400
    Still at the Embassy?
    Don’t you have a little self respect?
    How can you still support Maduro after all the victims of brutality in the protests?
    You call the USA government criminals… What do you call Maduro?
  • Roger Pelizzari
    commented 2019-05-08 19:10:58 -0400
    You are all brave souls. Please get some activist men to protect you at the Embassy. You need protection against those thugs threatening you. You are real heroes of peace. Stay strong and stay safe.
    Peace for Venezuela
  • Eduardo Ferrero
    commented 2019-05-05 17:06:21 -0400
    Why do you defend a dictator that WAS NOT ELECTED BY POPULAR VOTE. Maduro named himself president, his term is over and he refuses to step down.
    You need to leave the embassy to the real Venezuelans.
    You have nothing to do there.
  • Nancy Dethmers
    commented 2019-05-03 20:41:13 -0400
    Thank you to all of the brave Embassy activists!!
    Hold on to your integrity in the face of such hate and total obedience shown to the power mongers!
    I will hold you in my thoughts.
  • Admin
    published this page in PINK Tank ~ Blog 2019-05-03 15:06:49 -0400