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Embassy Protection Collective

White House Takes Possession Of Venezuela’s Embassy In Washington

Washington D.C. - Since this Monday, February 6, the US Department of State took possession of the Venezuelan Embassy headquarters, the ambassador’s residence in Washington DC, and the Venezuelan Consulate in New York, according to a Bloomberg citing “people familiar with the matter.” This was done in response to the disbanding of the fake Venezuelan diplomatic mission led by Carlos Vecchio, after the removal of Juan Guaidó as “interim president,” a decision taken by the same far-right groups that maintained that fictional position following US orders. According to anonymous sources, custody of the properties is due to the fact that, in the opinion of the US diplomacy and their failed understanding of international rules, there is no executive branch that represents the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. This disregards the fact that Washington has been sending high level delegations in recent months to directly negotiate with the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Brazil: Defenders Return Embassy To Venezuelan Authorities

This Monday, January 2, the president of the National Assembly of Venezuela, deputy Jorge Rodríguez, received the keys to the headquarters of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Brazil from the hands of local social movements that, for more than three years, had protected the residence from attempts of aggression, siege, and attacks by fascism. Rodríguez, accompanied by the new Venezuelan ambassador to Brazil, Manuel Vicente Vadell, as well as the staff that works at the diplomatic headquarters, received the keys to the residence from João Pedro Stedile, Brazilian social leader. In 2019, the Venezuelan embassy in Brasília was subjected to occupation attempts by right-wing groups supported by the government of Jair Bolsonaro. This happened almost simultaneously with a similar attempt against the Venezuelan embassy in the US capital.

Embassy Protection Collective Members Mark End Of Federal Probation

Washington, DC – Today, three of the four members of the Embassy Protection Collective, Adrienne Pine, David Paul and Margaret Flowers, who stayed in the Venezuelan Embassy last year to stop its illegal handover to coup leaders, are finished with their six-month probation and 30-day suspended sentence. The fourth member of the collective, Kevin Zeese, died unexpectedly in September. The three collective members are traveling to Venezuela to serve as official election observers for the National Assembly election to be held on December 6, 2020.

Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective Wins Legal Victory

On the morning of June 3, four U.S. citizens from the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective (EPC) who engaged in a two-week-long standoff with right-wing Venezuelan exile hooligans and members of Juan Guaidó’s coup administration entered a plea agreement with the U.S. government.  The chief Judge for the U.S. District Court District of Columbia, Beryl Howell, sentenced David Paul, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, and Adrienne Pine to six months of probation and fines totaling $750 each. Additionally, Judge Howell ordered the four defendants to stay away from the building which formally served as Venezuela’s embassy in Washington D.C., threatening them with 30 day jail terms if they failed to meet the conditions of their probation. 

Protectors Of The Venezuelan Embassy Victorious After Federal Charges Are Dropped

Federal charges against the four protectors of the Venezuelan Embassy, who defended the building in Washington DC against violent opposition crowds for several weeks between April 10 and May 16 of 2019, were completely dropped in a case that was brought directly by prosecutors of the Trump administration. After several months of proceedings that produced a mistrial in February 2020, the four activists expressed in a public statement that “Today’s sentence marks yet another victory in the effort to protect the Venezuelan Embassy. The Embassy Protection Collective broke through the blockade and got supplies to the people inside; the people inside prevented the coup supporters from staying in the embassy; the embassy was not turned over to Guaidó—it remains empty today—and now the federal charges have been dropped.”

Federal Charges Against Four Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Dropped

Washington, DC - The federal charge of “interfering with certain protective functions” levied against four members of the Embassy Protection Collective was formally dropped today in a hearing before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell in US District Court. The four defendants are Adrienne Pine, David Paul, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. They were arrested on May 16 2019 when federal police raided the Venezuelan Embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention, which requires host countries to protect embassies and restricts them from entering without permission from the sovereign government. Judge Howell sentenced the Embassy Protective Collective to no jail time. After a jury refused to convict them in early February, resulting in a mistrial, the prosecutors offered to drop the federal charge and substitute one of most minor local misdemeanor charges in the DC Code, incommoding, basically causing a disturbance.

Activists Go To Venezuelan Embassy To Evict ‘Ambassador Vecchio’, Find He’s Not There

Washington, DC - Today, activists with CODEPINK went to the Venezuelan Embassy in the posh Georgetown neighborhood to find out if the Embassy was providing consular services. Leo Flores, a Venezuelan, rang the doorbell but nobody answered the door. When journalist Anya Parampil asked if the embassy was able to provide consular services, a police officer outside replied, "No, it's not an actual working embassy." Last week, when the four Embassy Protectors who were arrested on May 16 during the US government's raid of the embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention were tried in court, the prosecutor repeatedly stated that it was necessary to remove the protectors so the embassy could be "returned to Ambassador Vecchio."

Mistrial Is Another Blow To US Coup In Venezuela; Our Work Continues

Last week, we along with Adrienne Pine and David Paul were unsuccessfully prosecuted by the Trump administration for our protection of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC from April 10 to May 16, 2019.  The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision and so we remain innocent of the charge of interfering with the protective functions of the US Department of State. The judge declared a mistrial. It was a partial victory and we greatly appreciate the jurors who were able to see through the cloud of misinformation in the courtroom and vote to acquit us. The day our trial started, Juan Guaido returned to Venezuela where he was harassed and physically assaulted by protesters. He is unable to muster support at home even from the opposition.

Mistrial Declared In Kafkaesque D.C. Trial Of Venezuela Embassy Protectors

The word “Kafkaesque” is thrown around liberally in the modern era, often without warrant. “The Trial,” a 1925 novel written by Bohemian writer Franz Kafka, tells the story of Josef K., a man arrested and prosecuted in a nightmarish kangaroo court while unable to properly defend himself. But nearly 100 years later, another real trial took place in our modern American dystopia, one which easily qualifies for the moniker. Starting February 11, four anti-war activists, Adrienne Pine, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers and David Paul, were facing a year in prison and a $100,000 fine each for interfering with the protective function of the State Department. Today, despite a hostile judge and a host of constraints against the defense, prosecutors were unable to convince a jury that any crime had been committed and the events ended in a mistrial.

Mistrial In Trump Biased Prosecution Against Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Is Win For Sovereignty

A hung jury in the Donald Trump administration’s case against activists who were arrested protecting Venezuela’s internationally recognized embassy in Washington, DC is being heralded as a major win for sovereignty, amid the US government’s floundering coup attempt against the Chavista government in Caracas. On February 14, a jury of 12 DC residents were deadlocked over the issue of the embassy defenders, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial — in a blow to the federal government and to a judicial system that had stacked the odds against them.

US Citizen Detained, Interrogated By DHS About Anti-War Movement For Venezuela Solidarity

A US citizen who participated in the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective was detained, searched and interrogated for the second time by US government agents about his political beliefs and participation in the anti-war movement. On his way back from a Christmas visit to his family in Nicaragua, 31-year-old US citizen Sergio Lazo Torrez was detained by Customs and Border Patrol officers.

Defense Team Challenged Trump Prosecutors’ Attempts To Fix Outcome Of Trial

A pretrial hearing of the four Embassy Protectors facing federal prosecution took place before Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 29 in Washington, DC. The hearing, which was to define the parameters of the upcoming trial, became complicated as the judge learned more about the facts of the case. When the hearing started, Judge Howell stated that she expected to rule on all the issues requiring decisions that day. She added that her previous ruling on discovery, where she denied all of the defendants’ discovery requests, ought to tell the defendants what to expect. However, after four hours, the judge decided to delay some of her decisions on critical elements such as what the jury will be allowed to hear and whether the Embassy Protectors will be able to present a meaningful defense.

An Epic Act Of Resistance And Trial Of Our Times

The U.S. government’s accusation against of the four members of the Embassy Protectors Collective is merely a pretext used for their arrest and prosecution, since they haven’t broken any laws.  On Feb. 11, four American peace activists, known as the Embassy Protectors Collective, will be tried before the U.S. empire for “interfering with certain protective functions” of its Federal government for their occupation of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. to prevent it from being handed over to coup leaders sponsored by the Trump administration. Their occupation ended on May 16, 2019, when federal agents broke into the sealed embassy, against international law, and arrested them in a swat style raid. The government’s accusation against them is merely a pretext used for their arrest and prosecution since they haven’t broken any laws.

Jan. 22 – Day Of Action To Support Venezuelan Embassy Protectors

As we approach the Embassy Protectors’ trial, currently scheduled for February 11, 2020, both sides are filing documents relevant to the trial. These will be argued at the next court hearing on January 29. Among the issues the Trump administration is asking not be discussed in the trial are the following: — The fact that the president of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro. — The legitimacy of Juan Guaido representing the Venezuelan government. — That Carlos Vecchio, whose demand that the Protectors leave the embassy was the basis of their eviction, is not an ambassador from Venezuela but part of the Guaido failed coup. — That they were in the embassy with the permission of the elected government of Venezuela. — That they received legal advice that we were in the embassy legally.

Embassy Protectors Are Being Denied Their Right To A Fair Trial

Judge Beryl A. Howell, the chief judge of the US District Court, denied the discovery motions requested by the four embassy protectors who were arrested on May 16 after staying in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC for 37 days to prevent it from being handed over to coup-leaders in violation of the Vienna Convention. This denial will severely restrict the scope of the trial, currently scheduled for February 11, 2020, of Adrienne Pine, David Paul, Margaret Flowers, and Kevin Zeese. They face federal charges punishable by up to a year in prison, a $100,000 fine each and restitution to the government for police time and damages. Judge Howell's ruling will result in a farcical trial where the jury will not be allowed to consider the contentious legality of the Trump administration’s recognition of the leadership of the coup in Venezuela, and thus the legal basis of the charges the defenders are facing.
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