Arresting Members Of The Embassy Protection Collective Would Be Unlawful

| Resist!

Washington, DC – We told the State Department that if they enter the Venezuelan Embassy, they are violating international law, and if they arrest members of the Collective for trespass or unlawful entry, these will be unlawful arrests. Members of the Collective are in the embassy with the permission of the elected government of Venezuela.

In two messages to the State Department today, the Collective explained that we are not violating the law and if there are unlawful arrests we will pursue legal action to hold people responsible for ordering arrests or making arrests.

We made this clear in writing to the State Department even before April 24, but we reiterated this today after the Secret Service came to the embassy and photographed the outside building to prepare plans to illegally enter the building and make unlawful arrests.

Tonight, when the Collective held an amazing forum with John Kiriakou, a former CIA official who spoke about an “Insiders View of US Regime Change,”  outside there were Secret Service and DC police. This act of intimidation included not only the threat of arrest but also intimidated journalists, some of whom were asked for photo identification and press information.

During this forum, both Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, our lawyer from the Partnership for Civil Justice, and I publicly made the points below so there was a video record of our concerns with the threats from the State Department police and the illegality of any arrests of Collective members.

We were not intimidated because members of the Collective are not breaking ANY laws.

In my second message to the State Department, I wrote in the Subject Line: “Any arrest in the Venezuelan embassy would be unlawful” and wrote:

Members of the Embassy Protection Collective are writing to make it expressly clear and ensure all personnel are put on notice that any arrest of persons inside the embassy would constitute an unlawful arrest. We understand from our communications with your office that you are threatening to arrest persons inside the Venezuelan embassy.

Not only are we here at the invitation of persons lawfully in charge of the premises, but we are also here as people with lawful rights under Washington, DC tenancy law.

It is our intention to hold responsible any person who orders or effectuates any unlawful actions against us.

We have received no eviction notice and due process opportunity to challenge any attempted eviction as is required by law.

An earlier message to the State Department focused on three issues:

(1) The US will be violating international law if they enter the embassy and do not protect it from takeover by the fraudulent puppet government the US is trying to install despite the democratically elected legitimate government of President Maduro.

(2) President Maduro was elected in an election where more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed that the election was legitimate by international standards.

(3) The US puppet president Juan Guaido’s self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution in multiple ways.

The State Department is on public notice that it will be violating the law if it enters the embassy. Below are messages I sent to the State Department.

I am with the Embassy Protection Collective. We are inside the embassy with the permission of the Venezuela government. We have not entered unlawfully nor are we trespassing.

We saw the Secret Service outside today taking pictures and I spoke with the officers who told us to stay in touch with David Noordeloos who told me to contact you.

I am writing to find out about your plans. I will serve as the police liaison between the Collective and law enforcement if you decide to approach the embassy to remove us.

I shared with Noordeloos the information below that indicates that entering the embassy would be a violation of international law, Juan Guaido is not the interim-president and has violated Venezuela law and has no governmental authority. Further, Nicolas Maduro is the legitimately elected president of Venezuela and is recognized by the United Nations and the vast majority of world governments. I hope the US government will respect international law, Venezuelan law and the sovereignty of Venezuela.

Kevin Zeese

Please let decision-makers know that there is a legitimate government of Venezuela that has been democratically elected. The Maduro government is recognized by the United Nations. We are in the embassy with the permission of that government. Any trespass by US authorities or the illegal fake government or opposition would violate the law.

The entire world knows that recognizing Juan Guaido is a farce. He does not have the power of the Venezuelan government, cannot issue passports or visas, negotiate any agreements and literally does not function as a government.

The information below clarifies that invading the embassy, the equivalent of invading Venezuelan territory, would be a violation of law.

Kevin Zeese, Esq.

International Law Protects Foreign Embassies Located In The United States

According to Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, foreign embassies should be protected by the United States government and their space should not be violated by the US government. Specifically, international law requires:

  1. The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2. The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

The Trump Administration would be violating the Vienna Convention if it allowed the illegal seizure of the Venezuela embassy. The Election Protection Collective is supporting the people of Venezuela by taking responsibility to ensure that Article 22 of the Vienna Convention is not violated.

The Elected Government of President Maduro Remains In Power

The government of President Nicolás Maduro was re-elected on May 20, 2018 in response to the opposition demanding an early election. The election was held consistent with the Venezuelan Constitution, in consultation with opposition parties and as determined by the National Electoral Council, an independent branch of the Venezuelan government.

Sixteen parties participated in the election with six candidates competing for the presidency. President Maduro won by a wide margin, obtaining 6,248,864 votes, 67.84%; followed by Henri Falcón with 1,927,958, 20.93%; Javier Bertucci with 1,015,895, 10.82%; and Reinaldo Quijada, who obtained 36,246 votes, 0.39% of the total. A total of 9,389,056 people voted, 46% of eligible voters.

The electoral process was observed by more than 150 election observers. This included 14 electoral commissions from eight countries among them the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America; two technical electoral missions; and 18 journalists from different parts of the world, among others. According to international observers, “the elections were very transparent and complied with international parameters and national legislation.”

In a letter to the European Union correcting some of the false statements made about the election, election observers wrote: “We were unanimous in concluding that the elections were conducted fairly, that the election conditions were not biased, that genuine irregularities were exceptionally few and of a very minor nature.”

Voting machines were audited before and immediately after the election. Venezuela does something no other country in the world does, a public Citizen’s Audit of a random sample of 52 to 54% of voting machines at each precinct. The Citizen’s Audit is observed by the media, the public, and all opposition parties, who sign the audits. The audits showed that the election results accurately reflected the will of the voters.

The Invalid Self-Appointment of Juan Guaidó Violated Venezuelan Law

Juan Guaidó’s self-appointment as interim president violated the Constitution of Venezuela. The language of the Venezuelan Constitution is clear regarding when the president of the National Assembly can become president and none of the conditions in the Constitution have been met.

The opposition relies on Article 233 of the Constitution, which allows the National Assembly president to serve as interim president only if the president-elect has not yet been inaugurated. Guaidó’s self-appointment occurred after President Maduro had been inaugurated.

Article 233 allows the president of the National Assembly to become president only if the president-elect:

“become[s] permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice [equivalent of impeachment]; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.”

None of these conditions were met.

If Guaidó had met the above conditions, Article 233 allows him to serve for only 30 consecutive days pending election and inauguration of the new President. Guaidó’s self-appointment and fraudulent inauguration occurred more than 30 days ago and no election has been scheduled.

In a press briefing, Elliot Abrams, the US Special Representative for Venezuela, could not explain these violations of law by Guaidó and admitted that Guaidó is not “able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.” Even Abrams admits that Guaidó is not the president. Therefore, he has no authority over the Venezuelan embassy.

If the US proceeds to violate the property of the Venezuelan Embassy, it will send a message to all the countries in the world that their embassies are not protected by international law in the United States. The US wants to install a coup puppet government and is willing to violate the law to do so. That is a message the United States should not send to governments around the world.

We are making this correspondence public so that there is an open record that the State Department has been put on notice and that their threats to unlawfully arrest and evict members of the Collective from a building, where we are tenants or guests with the permission of the Venezuelan government, are public. We are prepared for the Secret Service and DC police to come to the embassy tomorrow and are not intimidated by their threats. We know that we are not violating any laws.

  • brian manson

    Venezuela must be allowed to re-vote in open, free, transparent elections. MADURO is a CUBAN puppet.
    Let me get this straight.
    Chavez allows Cuba to take over, and then monitor the military for presidential allegiance and using there services for death squads and murdering protesters. Tortures his own citizens and politicians with the Cuban G-2 Secret Service.
    This is a TRUE coup. Venezuelans are not in control of their own military. They haven’t been for decades. You clowns at this organization are decades late. The coup already happened.
    Maduro and his Cuban fascism professors just now prevented a free, transparent election; using food and starvation as a weapon… And there’s so-called “left wing” Americans assisting Maduro and Cuba’s PR campaign…?
    This organization is losing face BIG TIME.

  • Lili-Ann Berg

    You may even be stupid enough to work for the State Department.

  • kevinzeese

    is this moronic comment a joke? it is so absurd that it does not even deserve a response.

  • Canus Ictus

    Your brother, Charlie, made more sense than you. If Uncle Slimey got off of Venezuela’s neck and really showed that he had the interests of the Venezuelan people at heart, maybe there could be cooperation between the US, Venezuela AND Cuba. But, even though the Venezuelan economy was in tatters and its state security apparatus was trained and monitored by the US BEFORE Chavez was elected, Uncle Slimey did nothing to help the estimated 75% of Venezuelans living in abject poverty under neo-liberal US economic policies fostered by autocrats like Ricardo Hausmann. Get your facts straight, You sound like an hysterical schoolgirl holding a rusty straight razor to her neck.

  • Pat moore

    To Kevin, Margaret, and all those opposing US imperialism: Thank you

  • John Chadwick

    You represent a sad segment of society that swallows MSM propaganda hook-line-and-sinker. Your type is what is bringing the U.S to depths from which we may never recover. doG bless you…

  • Lynn

    Bravo Kevin! Keep up the good work.

  • floyds55

    thank you for doing the right thing…
    i am ashamed of the ilegal activities the government of the united states has and is continuing to commit in violation of the un charter and human rights along with acts of war with so many countries at this time…

  • Gerie

    Here it is, Thurs evening, 4/25, after 7pm.. To all of you of the Collective there at the Venezuelan Embassy, thank you for all you’re doing. And, thank you, Debbie Tolson, for this post, so I could read Kevin Zeese’s excellent letter. First time I’ve been able to tune into any of it today, will check shortly on Democracy Now, to see if Amy Goodman is talking of any of this. She and also The Real News Network are totally supportive of what you’re doing, I imagine. I hope, pray, all of you are safe… Now, I’ll try to explore what’s going on newswise about this. I salute all of you for your bravery and truth telling.

  • Jon

    Either a fool or a Ghoul, I can’t decide which. Maybe both. Great work on your part, Kevin! Solidarity.

  • William P. Homans

    Elliot Abrams, still in the thick of the neocon bullshit. Throw it down their smokestack, Bill and Kevin! Send me orders for your support privately.

  • William P. Homans

    Salute to all my resistor brothers and sisters. I turn 70 today, and my resolve is stronger than ever.

    Solidarity,
    Bill Homans
    VVAW Life Member, Sapper
    VFP Action

  • Margaret Flowers

    We need you here, Watermelon Slim.

  • Be gone troll.

  • brian manson

    Im not a troll. I’m married to a Venezuelan, from Maracaibo. And am close with many Venezuelan families. Looks like I hurt some people’s feelings given all the insults. So This organization wants to keep Maduro in power for 6 MORE YEARS?! He just prevented elections. And it sounds like you guys are clearly not Venezuelans. Do any of you people personally know Venezuelans? Non-Chavista Venezuelans? I doubt any of you have had personal visits to the country.
    You guys want to prevent a coup. Ok. But since when was a populace DEMANDING they be allowed to have free, transparent elections? Demanding democracy is a coup? Huh? MaduroFidelChavez fascists.

  • alanna@earthrights.net

    Bravo! The whole world is watching or soon will be.

  • brian manson

    Its curious, and kinda sad that you guys have decided to cooperate with “Hands Off Venezuela”… A known Venezuelan/Cuba Psyop organization. No one here has lived under Chavez. Not one of you. Talking talk without walking a single step alongside our non-enchufado Venezuelan sisters and brothers.
    Were any of you there to monitor the past “election”…?
    Nope. Not one of you.
    Imperialism of any kind is abhorrent, but I think you guys might want to step back a bit and denounce Maduro, and allow free, OPEN, TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS. That is not imperialism. Its just not.

  • brian manson

    Oh… Whoa… You sound very upset. I’m sorry your feelings are causing you to paint graphically violent images of schoolgirls and razors in their necks…?
    Who are you?
    Weird… I feel this conversation is already lost. I hope everyone here can grow up soon and harness themselves for a discussion…
    (Its so frustrating when emotions prevail over discourse).

    “Charles Manson” was an adopted name. Read “Helter Skelter” to better understand your insult, or any book at all for that matter…

  • brian manson

    What about the VAST MAJORITY of Venezuelans that, for a historical extreme LOW of voter turn-out, were not able to vote for their own JAILED political parties? These Venezuelan people often share a view favoring a change of government through open, transparent elections…
    Then I believe, following your logic, that the entire NON-Chavista populace of all of Venezuela have also “swallowed the MSM propaganda hook-like-and-sinker?”
    The news/open journalism has essentially been on-the-ground outlawed there for years…? How are all of these voices also swallowing your MSM propaganda?

  • If you believe in democratic ideals than you ought to respect the Venezuelan election results, which were considered fair by international observers, Maduru won a by a clear majority, with more than three times the votes of his nearest rival, [the much despised Guaido did not even run for the Presidency]

    From – The Case for the Legitimacy of Maduro’s Second Term – [Telesur]

    The presidential elections of May 20, 2018, were carried out under the strict audition and preparation of a non-partisan National Electoral Council (CNE). The elections called by the CNE, were ratified by all the presidential elections candidates, including opposition candidate Henri Falcon, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the opposition parties Avanzada Progresista (AP), Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) and Political Organization of Electoral Independence (Copei). All signed the “Guarantees Agreement,” for said elections.

    Nicolas Maduro Moros was re-elected as president of Venezuela on May 20, by the majority of the population, with 5,823,728 votes, 67.7 percent of popular support, in a day that marked a 47.02 percent participation. The presidential elections complied with all the parameters of transparency and security of the vote, recognized by the very participating opposition parties and by the high-profile international observers who attended.

    Source Telesur

    The complete and utter hypocrisy of the Lima group is that some of their members have not even been elected head of state, instead arrived by coup and election fraud.

  • brian manson

    Listen. You’re a fake. And where are these “international organizations?” You mean the manufacturer who admitted that his machines had been tampered with?! That organization? Those organizations you just listed, the CNE, are all paid, corrupt Chavistas!!! The CNE IS HEADED BY A CHAVISTA LEADER… How is THAT non-partisan?!? Keep writing. You look like such a fool😂
    I’m going to post an article showing how the CORRUPT the vote was in Venezuela… I don’t know who you work for but I’m guessing it’s Telesur?

  • brian manson

    LOOK KIDS! Another Chinese/Cuban/Russian or in this case some mislead North American writing about the LEGITIMACY OF MADURO’S CNE!!!!!!!
    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    Sleep tight.
    Loser.

  • brian manson

    The results of Venezuela’s controversial vote to create a new legislature and give President Nicolas Maduro broad authoritarian powers were “tampered with,” to change turnout figures, according to the CEO of the firm that provided the election system.

    The news may support opposition charges that the results were inflated to add credibility to the vote, which established a National Constituent Assembly beholden to Maduro.

    Speaking at a news briefing in London, Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said the results of Sunday’s poll were off by at least one million.

    “We know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” Mugica told reporters.

    Please “Southern,” tell me more…

  • brian manson

    Haaaaaaaa PARTY’S OVER!!!!!!!!
    Venezuelans are going to get to OPEN, TRANSPARENT, FREE ELECTIONS AGAIN!!!!
    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
    VIVA VENEZUELA Y SU BRAVO PUEBLO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • brian manson

    HAAAAAAA THE PARTY’S OVER FOR THE PSUV-GRAVY TRAIN CHAVISTAS!!!!
    Maduro was trying to flee the Chavez/Cuba Revolución!!!!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!
    The rebel/ex-Venezuelan military are going to finally take these guys out by providing defensive (and Jesus probably offensive too) cover for protesters!!! WHOA!!!
    Viva Venezuela Libre!!! FREE, OPEN, TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS! Adios Maduro/Diosdado!!!
    Viva su bravo pueblo Venezuela.

  • brian manson

    HAAAAAAA THE PARTY’S OVER FOR THE PSUV-GRAVY TRAIN CHAVISTAS!!!!
    Maduro was trying to flee the Chavez/Cuba Revolución!!!!!! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!
    The rebel/ex-Venezuelan military are going to finally take these guys out by providing defensive (and Jesus probably offensive too) cover for protesters!!! WHOA!!!
    Viva Venezuela Libre!!! FREE, OPEN, TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS! Adios Maduro/Diosdado!!!
    Viva su bravo pueblo Venezuela.

  • Pat moore

    I hope you never face the wrath which occurs daily in countries with natural resources that the US wants.

  • brian manson

    😂The only thing moronic here is an American CHAVISTA THAT LIVES IN BALTIMORE 😂
    Is it hard for you fighting for Chavez’s DEAD ON ARRIVAL “Revolution”from here in the US?!?
    Who’s you your favorite Chavista torture master? Mine’s the Head of Cuban Secret Service Eduardo Delgado Rodgriguez! He’s done such great work in Venezuela… I’m mean, really. The guy is just so, so qualified for the job he’s involved in there…
    Go ahead and don’t address who he is or what he’s been up to for the past decade… its ok…

  • brian manson

    Oh lord. How sad are you😂
    I hope you never face a group of North Americans telling you to accept fraudulent votes, a fraudulent “electoral committee”, AND block you with CODEPINK😂 from even gaining access to consular services FROM YOUR OWN EMBASSY (an embassy that hasn’t even BEEN offering consular services anyways because Maduro/Chavez DESTROYED their own country)…
    You should go join CODEPINK since they’re so busy doing MADURO’S DIRTY WORK in exchange for sleeping on an embassy couch.
    What a bunch of absolute losers💔😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  • brian manson

    What comedy. These CODEPINK losers finally got their sorry North American asses kicked out of the VENEZUELAN Embassy. Great job doing Maduro’s dirty work for him AND preventing Venezuelans from accessing consular services, which they have a right to; How the heck was that helping anyone?
    Oh, right. Maduro’s SUCH A FAILURE that SAIME (Venezuela’s “government’s” department that supposedly issues passports) hasn’t been operating properly for 2-3 years now, unless you allow yourself to bribed and pay THOUSANDS of dollars to some Chavista official.
    Zeese.
    You’re a dumbass😂
    Im glad they FINALLY arrested you after you and your people were sleeping on THEIR couches 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂