Activists Organize 24/7 Protection of DC Venezuelan Embassy

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Ariel Gold | National Co-Director | ariel@codepink.org | 510 599 5330

Medea Benjamin | Co-Founder | medea.benjamin@gmail.com | 415 235 6517

Washington, DC - Activists opposed to the Venezuelan opposition takeover of diplomatic buildings belonging to the elected Venezuelan government have been staging a 24/7 vigil to protect the Venezuelan Embassy that lies in the heart of Georgetown in Washington DC.

Calling themselves the Embassy Civilian Protection Collective, the activists are working in the embassy during the day, holding educational events in the evening, and sleeping on couches at night. The evening events include seminars on Julian Assange, Haiti, US foreign policy in Africa, peace talks with Korea, the war in Yemen, and the political situation in Venezuela.

The activists were appalled when, on March 18, the Venezuelan opposition took over the military attaché building on 2409 California St in Washington DC, with the help of the DC Police and Secret Service. On that same day, the opposition also took over the Venezuelan Consulate in New York City.

Nowhere else in the world, even in countries that have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido, have governments allowed the opposition to take over Venezuela’s diplomatic buildings. The Trump Administration is not only allowing this illegal seizure of diplomatic premises, but is facilitating it. According to Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic premises are “inviolable” and agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission. Moreover, the receiving State must protect the premises against any intrusion, disturbance of the peace or impairment of its dignity.

“Like it or not, the Maduro government is actually the government in power in Venezuela and is recognized by the United Nations. This Trump-orchestrated plan of creating a parallel government and then simply taking over diplomatic premises is totally absurd, unprecedented and illegal,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who has been camped out at the embassy. “It doesn't matter whether you support President Maduro or not, this is about supporting international law and opposing a coup. That’s why we are determined to protect the embassy from a hostile takeover.”

"The Embassy Civilian Protection Collective is peacefully defending the embassy with the permission of the Venezuelan government, which owns the building. If the opposition members, police or secret service enter the building, they will be trespassing," added Margaret Flowers, co-director of Popular Resistance. "We feel a responsibility to hold our government to a standard of respecting the rule of law. If the US can attempt to install an unelected and illegal government in Venezuela, what's to stop it from doing that to other countries?"

Members of the collective are available for interviews.

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Comments

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  • Rodrigo Gutierrez
    commented 2019-04-25 15:49:26 -0400
    Supporting the Maduro regime in Venezuela is equivalent to supporting Adolf Hitler in Germany during 1940. Maduro is a dictator, same as Pinochet, Stroesner, Castro, Stalin, etc!!! He has taken Venezuela from being the richest country in South America and made it into the poorest and the people of Venezuela are suffering because of his political and economical policies (initiated during Hugo Chavez). He has closed several media chains that criticized his government and has taken over every branch of the government (100%) including the executive, legislative and jucicial branches (Supreme Court) as well as the military, paramilitary, and guerrilla leftist forces. When the opposition won the majority of the Asamblea Nacional (Venezuelan Senate and House of Representatives), Maduro ordered the Supreme Court to remove all power to the Asamblea Nacional and built up his own senate called the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente but whose members are all chavistas and Maduro’s followers. Any similarities with right wing dictators are simply a coincidence? The people of Venezuela have accepted Guaido as their leader and have taken to the streets in mass peaceful manifestations (millions) against Maduro and his regime but were attacked over and over again by the GNB (Bolivarian National Guard) and the Colectivos (paramilitary units controlled by Maduro). Now Maduro has allowed thousands of Cuban secret agents to monitor and control the Venezuelan military forces, hundreds of Russian military forces and equipment, and is even considering allowing Iranian Revolutionary Guards into Venezuela to protect him. He is doing this because he does not even trust his own military. Maduro is possibly converting Venezuela into another Siria!!! And yet you, Code Pink, blame the US government for trying to start a coup against the dictator? Are you forgetting the millions of Venezuelans begging the US and other countries for help to get rid of the dictator? Are you forgetting the thousands of Venezuelans who have suffered torture and are political prisoners in Venezuela? Are you forgetting the more than 60 countries who have publically stated that they only accept Gauido as President of Venezuela including most of the Latin American nations? Have you forgotten that the Organization of American States (made up of all the countries in the American continent including, North, Central and South America) voted to expel the Maduro representative and has allowed Guaido’s legal representative to take his place? Have you forgotten that Maduro did NOT win the last presidential election since it was a total FRAUD (even considered so by the manufacturer of the voting equipment since Maduro had the machines twiched in his favor) considering that Maduro totally controls the Electoral Commision of Venezuela (Consejo Nacional Electoral) and the opossition did not even participate for this reason!!!