National Mobilization Saturday, May 18 at the Venezuelan Embassy in D.C.!
UPDATE: In violation of international and U.S. law, police invaded the Venezuelan embassy and arrested the Embassy Protection Collective members who were inside. The four are now in police custody. Join us to protest the unprecedented illegal U.S. seizure of the embassy of another sovereign state, and to demand: “U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!”
The Embassy Protection Collective is calling on all peace and social justice organizations and people from all over the United States to join together Saturday, May 18, for a massive mobilization in Washington D.C. at the Venezuelan Embassy.
Right-wing and fascist thugs laid siege to the Venezuelan embassy for weeks. The electricity was cut off. The water was cut off and people attempting to bring food were violently attacked and arrested. The Secret Service and the D.C. Police Department, under orders of the Trump administration, facilitated this situation in the heart of Washington D.C. at a diplomatic compound that is protected by the Vienna Convention. Unable to break the will of the Embassy Protectors, or starve them out, they finally went in and illegally arrested them.
(statement by ANSWER coalition)
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Embassy Protection Collective: Defenders of Venezuelan Sovereignty!
By Rich Whitney
For weeks, a right-wing mob of supporters of Juan Guaidó — the self-described, U.S.-named “interim president” of Venezuela, who has no legitimate, lawful claim to that office — blocked access to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. The mob was supported actively by the Metropolitan District of Columbia Police and the U.S. Secret Service (SS).
Together, the police, SS and the Guaidó mob physically barred supporters from entering the embassy to deliver food, water and other essentials to the U.S. citizens who resided in and protected the embassy. The U.S. citizens joined together as the Embassy Protection Collective. They were present in the embassy with the express permission of the government of Venezuela.
The Collective was formed on April 10 in response to the Trump administration’s act forcing Venezuelan diplomats to leave the country. On April 30, as the latest coup attempt by Guaidó failed spectacularly in Venezuela, pro-coup supporters began assembling outside the embassy, and Carlos Vecchio, Guaidó’s fake “ambassador,” attempted to gain entry to the building.
Although that attempt was repelled, pro-coup supporters literally pitched tents and set up camp on the sidewalk, and soon began physically blocking supporters from entering the building with food or other supplies. The D.C. Metro Police and SS then cordoned off the area surrounding the entrance to the embassy, and barred Collective supporters from entering that area, giving coup supporters complete control of that space. Subsequently, electrical power and water to the building were cut off, under the direction of the SS, even though these utilities had been fully paid for.
On May 9, Gerry Condon, president of Veterans for Peace, was blocked by coup supporters in attempting to deliver food, so he attempted to toss a cucumber through a window to a Collective member. He was immediately surrounded by half a dozen Secret Service police, then pushed violently to the pavement, causing a bloody gash to his head. He was arrested and spent nearly a full day in jail.
In short, the SS and D.C. Metro Police collaborated with pro-Guaidó thugs in what amounts to a medieval siege, hoping to force the legal occupants of the embassy to leave the premises by starving them out and making it impossible to remain there. They replicated the same strategy of illegal economic warfare that the U.S. government has employed against the nation of Venezuela itself — only this time, aimed at U.S. citizens.
When this strategy failed, the SS and D.C. police resorted to the illegal entry into the Venezuela embassy, arresting the four members of the Embassy Protection Collective.
Letters of protest should be sent to the District of Columbia City Council, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Chief of Police Peter Newsham. Their email addresses are as follows: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, EOM@dc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Activists are also urged to join the protest at the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. on Saturday, March 18. For more information, contact the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), care of Joe Lombardo, at email@example.com — The Organizer.]
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Rich Whitney is an attorney from Carbondale, Ill., and a long-time Green Party and antiwar activist. The statement above is excepted from Whitney’s “Open Letter to District of Columbia Authorities.”