Standoff Escalates At Venezuela Embassy
Above photo: Pro-coup violent right-wing extremists surround the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. From the ANSWER Coalition.
Note: Margaret Flowers and I, along with other members of the Embassy Protection Collective, continue to live in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Today, May 4, there were competing protests all day from before noon until 10 pm outside the embassy. While we continue to be surrounded by right-wing Guaido supporters we were heartened by the large numbers of supporters who came to the embassy to show their support for our efforts to protect the embassy from intrusion by the United States and their puppet government, and to stop the US coup. During some of our times in the embassy we were unable to keep the Popular Resistance website up-to-date but we hope we are back on track. KZ
Washington DC Activists protecting the Venezuela Embassy from a takeover continue blocking pro-Guaido opposition from entering the building in Georgetown. As of Friday afternoon, activists were standing firm and still in control of the embassy. They are standing in for Venezuelan diplomats already forced to leave the U.S. and that has frustrated the pro-Guaido opposition while delaying Trump Administration efforts to build international consensus against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
There are still 20 activists in the embassy who have wittingly inserted themselves as a lynchpin in a broader international struggle over the future of Venezuela.
The Tuesday morning coup attempt of self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaidó to remove President Maduro was hastily executed and relied on scant military forces which had melted away by Wednesday evening. After most of the military leaders refused to abandon Nicolás Maduro, Juan Guaidó was seen as a double-fault coup loser. But in a broader sense his second failure was yet another item added to the growing list of Trump’s foreign policy debacles.
With China and Russia joined in support of President Nicolás Maduro, who was democratically elected by his own people last year, it further paints the U.S. into a corner for propping a much more weakened Juan Guaidó.
Secret Service: Embassy Guards Or Overseeers
Secret Service are tasked to guard embassies and typically respond to protect them when protesters encroach on embassy grounds. This was evident when Secret Service Agents arrested two dozen protesters blocking the gates of the Danish Embassy in March during a protest of the Rockwool Factory. But the particular individual Secret Service Officers assigned to guard the Venezuelan Embassy have been video recorded in proximity to pro-Juan Guaidó opposition while they harass, push and shove embassy protectors, damage embassy doors and walls, and obsturuct citizens exercising First Amendment rights.
One of the opposition protesters broke into the embassy in the early hours on Thursday, barricaded himself in a room, and destroyed furniture, prompting activists to demand Secret Service remove him. Secret Service complied to activists’ demands, but after they escorted him from the building, they released him without charges, though he had clearly broken and entered the embassy and damaged embassy property. He was videotaped outside the Venezuela Embassy with pro-Juan Guaidó opposition that day and again on Friday.
Secret Service denied deliveries of medicines to activists until Thursday afternoon when they finally relented and allowed some urgently needed prescriptions to pass through protester’s lines. Video shows Secret Service supporting pro-Guaido protesters blocking food and water deliveries since Tuesday morning when Juan Guaidó attempted his second coup attempt in Caracas. The video shows Secret Service actions were allied with opposition protesters urging Secret Service to deny delivery of food and water.
Video further shows aggression and harassment from right-wing pro-Juan Guaido protesters, who have also being recorded harassing peaceful embassy protectors and supporters outside with slurs and threats. An attorney representing the activists inside send correspondence to the Secret Service and DC Metropolitan Police demanding they intervene.
Venezuela Diplomats Contact State Department To Protest Secret Service
The Venezuela foreign minister has sent daily letters to the State Department protesting treatment of the activists at the embassy. They have reaffirmed the activist’s right to be in the embassy. They have also thanked activists for standing in for them and encouraged them to remain.
“We have received lots of encouragement from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry at all levels from embassy staff in DC to video messages from the Vice Foreign Minister to the Foreign Minister,” said Kevin Zeese, one of the activists who remained in the embassy as of Friday night. The contentious battle over the embassy has drawn the attention of the Venezuelan President himself.
“We are told by the Foreign Ministry that President Maduro is aware of the situation, honored by our support and has directed the government to support us in anyway we need. They say we are lawful tenants and guests of the embassy,” said Zeese.
But it is apparent the Secret Service doesn’t see it that way. Late Thursday, Ariel Gold, a Codepink Activist was arrested and charged with “projecting a missile” after she threw food through an open window of the embassy. She and an opposition protester were also charged with simple assault after a brief scuffle.
Alex Rubenstein, an independent media journalist working with Mint Press News, has been reporting from inside the embassy and recording incidents as they unfold from the windows above. He has been inside the embassy since the seige began. His video documented aggressive opposition tactics, most of which have happened under the watch of the Secret Service.
Rubenstein also photographed the damage done to doors and fixtures on the building by pro-Guaidó opposition during attempts to break in. A carport entryway had holes drilled in walls with drilling equipment nearby. Lights and door handles have been broken or damaged while pro-Guaidó opposition was present.
Embassy Protectors Persist Despit Overwhelming Odds And Dwindling Food Supply
On Friday afternoon activists inside enraged opposition outside by circumventing their blockade with a rope delivery of food through a window. Kei Prisker, one of the activists inside the embassy weighed in on the symbolism of the siege, calling it hypocritical since the pro-Guaido opposition claims to be fighting for the overthrow of Maduro due to hunger and lack of medicine in Venezuela.
On Friday afternoon Secret Service arrested an embassy protector outside the embassy after they attempted to deliver toothbrushes to embassy protection staff inside. Opposition accused the protector of assaulting a pregnant woman but video taken at the moment shows no assault took place.
Kevin Zeese stated the importance and symbolism of preventing the Venezuela Embassy from being taken over. “This embassy is critical to their plans. We are here because Maduro is still president. Removing us creates unpredictable responses around the world,” he said.
On Friday night pro-Guaido opposition were reported by activists to be attempting a break-in at back doors of the embassy. Activists repeatedly called Secret Service offices but there was no response from Secret Service Agents at the scene to stop them.