First-Hand Account of Protecting the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington

Kevin Zeese, co-founder of the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, described the situation inside the embassy on Wednesday. 

‘Focused on Sovereignty and Peace’

By Dennis J. Bernstein
Special to Consortium News

On May 1, I conducted this phone interview with Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance, and co-founder of the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, about the occupation of the embassy.

Dennis Bernstein: Where exactly are you now Kevin Zeese?

Kevin Zeese:  I’m talking to you from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., as part of the Embassy Protection Collective, a group of organizations and individuals who are standing in solidarity with the Venezuelan people to protect their embassy from takeover by the Trump administration and the state government they have picked for Venezuela, which just had a failed coup yesterday.  I am co-director of Popular Resistance.org, which grew out of the Occupy movement and is a daily movement and organizing site which carries on the issues which were raised by the Occupy movement.  We are one of the initiators of this collective at the embassy, along with Code Pink, the Answer Coalition, Black Alliance for Peace, and other organizations.

Dennis Bernstein: Tell us exactly what you are doing there in the embassy and what people in Washington, D.C., are trying to do in the context of what appears to be a U.S.-supported coup and advanced destabilization.

Kevin Zeese: Tenant of Venezuela. (Slowking4, GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons)

Kevin Zeese: Tenant of Venezuela. (Slowking4, GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons)

Kevin Zeese:  We have upwards of 50 people living here every night.  We began on April 10 and it is ongoing.  We work here, we sleep here, we cook here. This has become our home and we see ourselves as tenants of the Venezuelan government.  We live here with the permission of the elected Venezuelan government.  There was no unlawful entry, there is no trespass.  We see ourselves as interim protectors because the U.S. embassy in Caracas is vacant and the U.S. wants to have Switzerland serve as a protectorate for that embassy.  Venezuela is negotiating with other countries to be a protectorate for this embassy. We are hoping that the two countries will mutually agree to having protectorates and that way both embassies will remain sovereign.  Once that is negotiated, we hope that will begin an ongoing dialogue that can resolve a lot of the disputes between the U.S. and Venezuela.

I know that Venezuela wants to have a good relationship with the United States and does not see the United States as an enemy.  They want peace, but they will protect their sovereignty and independence and they are prepared to do so with their military as well as their civilian militia.  We hope to avoid such a conflict and use this embassy dispute as a way to open up diplomatic relations and end the economic attack as well as the threats of military force.

Dennis Bernstein: What confirms this to be a coup, an overthrow of the government there?

Kevin Zeese:  There is no question that this is a coup.  This was discussed by the OAS [Organization of American States] in January and February by the U.S. and its allies.  They picked [National Assembly President Juan] Guaidó to be their puppet president, someone who had never run for presidency and had come from the second smallest state with 24 percent of the vote, which was enough to get into the national legislature.  By appointing himself interim president he violated the Venezuelan constitution in a multitude of ways. 

The coup tried yesterday to conduct a takeover of the country and failed miserably. Guaidó — along with the leader of the opposition, Leopoldo Lopez, who has been convicted of inciting violence that killed more than 140 people — fled and are hiding in the Spanish embassy.  So our understanding of the reality of the coup is not just that it was discussed at the OAS but also that the night before the coup [Vice President] Michael Pence called Guaidó and said that he has the full support of the U.S. government.  As soon as he was self-appointed, Trump called him and recognized him and got the right-wing Lima Group countries to go along with that as well as many Western European countries.  One hundred and fifty nations have not recognized Guaidó, neither has the United Nations.  The OAS, which has always been under the thumb of the United States, had to change its rules because they could not get the two-thirds vote required to recognize Guaidó, and then they barely got the majority. That has resulted in the OAS ambassadors from Venezuela leaving.  The Caracas embassy has been used as a place for organizing opposition for many years. They worked very hard to undermine the 2018 reelection of President [Nicolás] Maduro.  There were more than 150 election observers from around the world and they unanimously found that the election met international standards and was free of fraud. 

Sign on embassy door. (Facebook page of Venezuelan Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective)

Sign on embassy door. (Facebook page of Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective)

Dennis Bernstein: Meanwhile we have the Trump administration trying to install part of the coup leadership that apparently failed in a coup attempt yesterday.  It was an amazing day for U.S. intelligence when they were talking about this plane, all the leaders agreed to go and something had to be done.  It was right out of the textbook of CIA destabilization and overthrow.  It is a throwback but is extremely disturbing.  What are those who support the government saying to you inside the embassy?  Are they willing to fight all the way?

Kevin Zeese: If you go to our website, you can read the declaration of our collective, which lays out how Maduro was reelected legitimately, how the Vienna Convention requires the U.S. government to protect the embassy and not turn it over to a fake government, and how Guide’s election violated the Venezuelan constitution.                                                                                                                                        

Of course, there are many people from Venezuela here who take a very different position.  Maduro’s supporters are for the most part in Venezuela, which is why they keep winning elections and defeating these coups.  The people who fled Venezuela, the business people and government people from the pre-Chavez era, are forming a violent mob outside the embassy.  Yesterday they were abusing us with sound cannons and racist slurs.  Today an opposition person snuck into the basement, got to the third floor and locked himself in a room and we had to negotiate with the secret service to remove him.  Unfortunately, the secret service removed the police barriers and told us we were on our own.  So, we now feel that we are under siege.  But people are confident.  We know we are acting lawfully, that we are on the right side of history.  We are standing against a U.S. coup, a U.S. military threat, and with the Venezuelan people. 

Embassy Protection Collective. (Twitter)

Embassy Protection Collective. (Twitter)

Dennis Bernstein: [President Donald] Trump, [National Security Advisor John] Bolton and others at the top are calling for a coup.  They said they were ready to fly to Havana but, according to Bolton, that plan broke down at the last minute, they chickened out.

Kevin Zeese: John Bolton is a known liar.  He was convicted of lying to Congress.  He is a known war criminal who has been involved in genocide in Central America during the Iran/Contra era.  He was pardoned by [President] George H. W. Bush.  Everything he is saying about Venezuela is a lie.  I am sure that Maduro never planned to leave the country. Bolton made another false statement about us at the Atlantic Council when he said that we were here in violation of the law.  He said that we have been asked to leave, which is not true.  I have absolutely no doubt that there was never any plan by the Venezuelan government to leave the country.  I was in Venezuela a few weeks ago and we actually ended up meeting with President Maduro after American Airlines cancelled all flights out of the country on the false claim that there was widespread civil unrest, when there was none at all.  We went out and filmed the streets to show that there was no unrest.  But that day President Maduro asked to meet with us. We were there for 90 minutes and he talked about how he was willing to put his life on the line to protect Venezuela’s independence. 

Dennis Bernstein: Would you say a little bit more about the Embassy Protection Collective?

Kevin Zeese: We are a collection of organizations and individuals.  Our declaration has been signed by about 1,500 people and organizations. You can support us through Popular Resistance or through Code Pink or the Black Alliance for Peace. 

Dennis Bernstein: So just to be clear, you are saying that you and the folks in this collective feel under siege now.  The police have told you they would not protect you until after you are hurt or wounded.  There are a series of anti-government protests supported by the U.S. government outside the embassy. 

Kevin Zeese: We have agreed to withdraw inside the embassy while these rallies go on. 

Dennis Bernstein: By the way, what did you talk about all night?  I’m sure you didn’t sleep all that well.

Kevin Zeese: We discussed the day’s events and how we responded.  It was a very tense situation.  We reviewed what we had done and what we could do better.  We discussed what was expected the coming day. And we were able to get online through social media so that more people can get involved and support our actions. 

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.”  You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net. You can get in touch with him at dbernstein@igc.org.

42 comments for “First-Hand Account of Protecting the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington

  1. EL Comandante
    May 6, 2019 at 23:19

    This is so funny. A bunch of white people keeping actual passport carrying Venezuelans out of their own embassy. This is probably the funniest part of the white privilege ignorance.

    “This Embassy Belongs to the ELECTED government of Venezuela!!!”

    Didn’t even contemplate what that means should Trump and Pence get impeached and removed by their congress! Basically, they’re Trump supporters, he IS the elected president! As a Venezuelan, Maduro is the same exact narcissistic misogynist as Trump and is just Trump 6 years from now. Has anyone ever watched him on Venezuelan TV????

  2. Ron Craven aka Ronzig the Wizard
    May 5, 2019 at 00:19

    Is the Venezuelan Embassy under siege by American authorities? If so how will the embassy protectors eat? I’m a Canadian and I’m embarrassed that our government along with several so called European Democracies are supporting this American attempt to force a coup. I don’t understand why the United Nations aren’t sanctioning America for all of the illegal activities it is guilty of from economic terrorism to illegal wars and illegal support and financing of terrorist organizations.

  3. Red Robbo
    May 4, 2019 at 02:19

    Bernstein: & Zeese are to be commended for not mentioning socialism!
    Thatcher: ‘there is only one economic system in the world, and that is capitalism. The difference lies in whether the capital is in the hands of the State or whether the greater part of it is in the hands of people outside of State control,’ ( House of Commons speech, 24 November, 1976).
    “Maduro recognizes Venezuela is still a capitalist-based economy…” (Popular Resistance newsletter, 27 May, 2018).

    • Ron Craven aka Ronzig the Wizard
      May 5, 2019 at 00:33

      There is nothing wrong with Capitalism as long as it is kept out of politics and the politicians do their job of limiting what the capitalist system is capable of doing. The current problem lies with the political class, not the capitalist class. The political class has changed the rules to allow themselves to accept huge bribes from the capitalist class virtually making themselves puppets of the capitalist class. Until enough honest politicians like AOC are elected to take control of government America will remain a rogue state. Hopefully that will happen before some idiot like Trump or Clinton starts WWIII. The good news is that Trump got elected instead of Clinton. I fully believe that she would have started war with Russia soon after getting elected using Russiagate as her excuse.

  4. Carl Rising-Moore
    May 4, 2019 at 00:11

    Except for the fact I am presently in the Philippines I would be with you brave defenders of the soverign state of Venezuela from this latest USA inspired coup d’etat. I am certainly with you in spirit dear friends and defenders of International Law and the Nuremberg Tribunal Principles.

  5. May 3, 2019 at 19:27

    God bless Code Pink, Black Alliance, and Popular Resistance.

  6. Brian James
    May 3, 2019 at 13:33

    May 1, 2019 The Grayzone’s Anya Parampil destroys Trump’s Venezuela coup on Fox News

    The Gray zone’s Anya Parampil joined Tucker Carlson on Fox News to discuss the corporate media’s abysmal coverage of the US-led coup attempt against Venezuela’s democratically elected government.

    https://youtu.be/qrLgOYvR6No

  7. Linda Morrison
    May 3, 2019 at 10:44

    I would like to correct one detail in this report. Mr. Leopoldo López is in the Spanish Embassy in Caracas and not in the Chilean Embassy, as reported. The interim Spanish government (we had general elections last Sunday, 28th of April) has accepted him as a refuge seeking asylum and will decide his status as soon as the new government takes office. The PSOE party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) who won the most votes in the election, may need some time to make a coalition government (not likely) or get enough support to take office and make such decisions. An interesting twist, really, seeing as how the socialists have been more or less lukewarm supporters of Maduro´s government up until the coup began…..I can barely imagine them agreeing with Trump’s decisions about Venezuela, but the world is in chaos and contortion lately.

  8. Jimmy G
    May 3, 2019 at 10:09

    The situation in Venezuela is not an action by the U.S. people. It’s an action by the intelligence community which is being directed by global business interests. I daresay the vast majority of US population could not care less about what happens outside their city or state. We elect actors and actresses who look good on media, and the same media which has promulgated the attack on the 2016 election and continue the coup in our country.

    Why do you suppose MSNBC, CNN, NYT etc have sided with the overthrow of Madero AND Trump?

    Why have the supporters of Guaidó in our US government also ( on both sides of the isle) been anti or never Trump?

    The article condemns Bolton for lying to Congress, but the Obama administration and the Clintons are just as guilty.

    This worldwide situation isn’t a manifestation of Trump being elected. It’s a manifestation of an unelected government that owns the “precious” social media and MSM.

    Puppets have many strings controlling them.

    • Carl Rising-Moore
      May 4, 2019 at 00:23

      The MSM is owned and controlled lock stock and barrel…especially after the CIA Operation Mockingbird which was and remains a global media infiltration of the news and opinions that the majority of the public consume without question.

      Thank goodness for Consortium News.

  9. May 3, 2019 at 08:20

    “There were more than 150 election observers from around the world and they unanimously found that the election met international standards and was free of fraud.”

    I assume/accept that the above quote is accurate. What more needs to be said.

    As in Syria, when Assad was elected, the United States dismissed the basic tenet of democracy.

    Tulsi Gabbard seems the only rational presidential candidate when she attacked our policy in Venezuela and our regime change activity in general, stating that the policy always results in greater suffering for the people. Sanctions the same, of course.

    Not often discussed is our regime change effort in Afghanistan by Carter which has resulted in misery for the Afghan people for forty years and still going on.

  10. Stanislav
    May 3, 2019 at 04:55
  11. Sam F
    May 2, 2019 at 21:36

    Surely Guaidó and Lopez can be charged with treason, or at least with raping a Swedish opportunist and skipping bail in the Chilean embassy. Or perhaps some Saudi diplomats can be encouraged to fit them into small parcels. Or Russia and China could extradite them for conspiring to steal state secrets, and hold them until Mr. Assange is released.

  12. Jill
    May 2, 2019 at 15:22

    I am declaring 2019 the Year of the Lackey! I have never seen such breathtaking lackyism in my life. Whole nations “lead” by people with no self respect (which is why they have no respect for others).

    I just wrote the DC mayor and asked her why she’s doing the dirty work for pence/trump by arresting people trying to get other people food. Why is she ordering her police force to break her oath and their oath of office for some sleezy neo-cons? If they want to break their oath of office, they can do it themselves.

    People are literally standing in line to sell out their own nation, other people, anyone really. No person who has dignity or self respect would do such things. Strong people do what is right and act with justice.

    Time Magazine, your lackey of the year award is going to have to be split into 1000’s of people.

  13. Anonymot
    May 2, 2019 at 13:58

    The Venezuelans who left for America are clones of the Cubans who fled Castro in the early 60s except that many of the Cubans were associated with the Miami Mafia and running the Mafia’s hotels, casinos, and numerous criminal activities like prostitution, drugs, etc. I lived in Florida at the time. They were the same people who advised that the Cubans would welcome them with open arms after the CIA led them to the Bay Of Pigs. They are still a raucous crowd in Florida who want to reinstall their Mafia interests and recuperate what they left behind. Meyer Lansky just let them hang out to dry.

    Chalabi and his exiled crowd did the same thing for the CIA simple-minded suckers with Iraq; the drug dealers did it after the Taliban stopped the production of heroin in Afghanistan as un-Muslim. I don’t know how the regime change was effected in Columbia, but the CIA was surely involved in the regime change.

    The oil mafia joined the invasions in Iraq, Syria, and are drooling over Venezuela and Iran, but it’s the CIA that has historically channelled the oil cartel and exile greed into action, helped by the State Dept. and politicians.

    We need a Regime Change Guide book that gives a bit of early history then gets detailed after WW II. Separate volumes for Central America, South America, Middle East with more to come from SE Asia and Africa.

  14. Vivian khedari
    May 2, 2019 at 12:18

    Dear Americans reading this,

    Here is a group of Americans who have deemed themselves progressive liberals and warn about the dangers of US intervention in Latin America. They think the US has a savior complex and intervenes in foreign nations to push its own agenda with little regard to the sovereignty of the people there. They think the US is guilty of white supremacist thinking that makes Americans believe they are morally superior and that they need to intervene to save the world from itself.

    And so what do these “woke” Americans do? Well, they illegally take over the Venezuelan embassy. They yell (in English) at the actual Venezuelans who have gathered outside to try to bring attention to the human rights being violated in their country and call them, like I was called yesterday “imperialist puppets.” They – in front of all the evidence in the world about the widespread starvation and health crisis in Venezuela and the constant disregard for civil liberties the Maduro dictatorship has shown -firmly believe that they know the truth, that they understand the issue better than the Venezuelans clamoring for their embassy to be released, that THEY, superior Americans, have a duty to save us from our ignorance because obviously all of us Venezuelans are wrong .

    Dear Americans. What the hell. Is this uncomfortable to read? Are you thinking: “oh but that’s THEM, not ME, I’m an even more “woke” progressive liberal who would never do that or anything like that”? Are you also thinking: “oh but what happened in Venezuela wasn’t REALLY socialism”! Newsflash, your silence is powerful and complicit.

    I would rather debate a Trump supporter who wants me out of this country any day than an American liberal who believes he is doing me a favor by enlightening me about how I – who have actually lived through socialism and dictatorship – just don’t get it.

    I am not, like this paper said, a “Venezuelan businessman who fled in the Chavez era”. I am 28 years old. I was 9 when Chavez was elected. Since then, I grew up in a socialist world of scarcity. I grew up in a world with ever-shrinking public media as the government slowly but surely took over news outlets. I lived first had the consequences of corruption, in not being able to renew my passport for years unless I accepted to pay a hefty bribe in a Venezuelan consulate (still no passport). I couldn’t bury my father, who died needing medicine that is accessible anywhere’s in the world – but not available in socialism. I actually prayed in thanks that my father died before the blackouts, which would have killed him as they did many people needed diálisis. Socialism was my world. I know it. I know what it feels like to breath tear gas when you gather with students to protest, I know what it feels like to try desperately to find news about your disappeared arrested friends and hear the whispers about torture. I know what it feels like to be stopped. Y the military on the way to school and checked as a “threat” just because you are a student in an university.

    American, be humble. I’m not a brainwashed empire puppet. My views of socialism and capitalism were not drawn from books I had the leisure to read. My views were shaped from my own life experience. What for you is benevolent activism for me is reactions to real pin, real suffering, real fear and real loss. Why don’t you look at the pictures of the oppression on Venezuelan protests? Why don’t you read the reports of torture? Why don’t you look at the starving people, at the wealth of Maduro’s lackeys?

    Perhaps if you spent less effort shielding yourselves from the uncomfortable truths and evidence against this government you could channel your activism to more constructive endeavors. If you really want to be a socialist, instead of refusing to see the failed socialist states as what they are you could allow yourselves to question what went wrong and find the flaws in your model and improve them. But that’s not what you are doing. What you are doing is claiming that I, and my pain and my experiences and my losses, am not real. Somehow, I am less human than you. And that’s the supremacist thinking that does the most damage.

    • Willow
      May 2, 2019 at 18:31

      Democratic socialism works in Norway. Their citizens have one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, the Norway hasn’t had illegal starvation sanctions imposed upon them by a foreign government since 1999. You’re 28, so since age 9 you’ve lived under US’ illegal economic sanctions designed to cripple your economy, harm the poor so they will overthrow their socialist leaders. The US continues to do the same to Cuba. From Wikipedia “Relations were strong under traditional governments in Venezuela, such as those of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Rafael Caldera.[citation needed] However, tensions increased after the socialist President Hugo Chávez assumed elected office in 1999. Tensions between the countries increased further after Venezuela accused the administration of George W. Bush of supporting the Venezuelan failed coup attempt in 2002 against Chavez,[1][2] an accusation that was partly retracted later.[3]

      Relations between Venezuela and the United States have been further strained when the country expelled the U.S. ambassador in September 2008 in solidarity with Bolivia after a U.S. ambassador was accused of cooperating with violent anti-government groups in that country, though relations thawed somewhat under President Barack Obama in June 2009, only to steadily deteriorate once again shortly afterwards. In February 2014, the Venezuelan government ordered three American diplomats out of the country on charges of promoting violence.[4][5]”

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 16:53

        Actually, during the Chavez years there was a boom in oil prices that brought into the context more money than it had ever had before. There was no scarcity because of sanctions. There was scarcity because Chavez and his friends kept the money, the boliburgueses kept the money, and they killed the economy with price controls that did not incentivize production and expropriated all privately owned enterprises they wanted but then didn’t even make them ‘work for the people’, they let them decay. Why don’t you google how Chavez’s daughter is now a “self-made billionaire” because she “sold cátala ofis products”. Venezuela’s current state has one guilty party only and it’s the thieves that stole our country from us.

        And Norway is not a socialist country. It seriously isn’t. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2018/07/08/sorry-bernie-bros-but-nordic-countries-are-not-socialist/amp/
        If its a system like that you are after, I’m not your enemy here. I’m not against that. This idea that somehow the Venezuelan oppositions is right wing is bullshit. I am against the idiots inside my embassy streaming themselves reading Marx. That retreated inaplicable model. Norway incentivized its economy to grow, and invested in people. It did not stagnate its growth and create equal starvation. norway’s System did not come from a loser in a Che Guevara shirt following disproven theories.

        For the record- I actually am not a fan of Leopoldo Lopez or his party either. Never have been. I’m a fan of the dictator leaving. And as for whether or not I am speaking for all Venezuelans? Well we can’t tell, can we? We don’t have elections, we have shams. But I can post here videos of people clamoring with their phone cameras the crowds or government control tv show on their support rallies with footage out their window to the actual rallies, and there’s less and less people there every time. I can post here about how we once actually organized and tried to make our own elections and millions of people voted to oust the government – a civil disobedience act of orchestrating our own election knowing it wouldn’t be upheld, and we showed up and voted. We have tried every democratic strategy in the book here.

        Explain to me how you justify the repression, the seizing control of news media, the tailoring of information, the bank accounts all over the world, the spike in drug trade through the frontier… like how can anybody really defend this government?

        I’ll gladly circle back and post those links. Not home now, but somebody apparently thinks I’m avoiding responding to you. I’m not. I am in a situation where I feel extremely powerless and have decided to cope by taking on the crazy idea of trying to convince one person, at least one person, of not continuing their blind support of a government that has caused me and my loved ones and my country men so much pain. I’ll keep at this for days.

      • Eddie S
        May 3, 2019 at 21:27

        And don’t you ever wonder WHY a government like Venezuela’s would try to protect itself from the predations of the well-documented intervention history of the US government? The US has CONTINUALLY done these kind of operations to overthrow any government it doesn’t like, so the smart countries have to take evasive action when they’re under US siege. I’m a lifelong citizen of the US and —- like many of the other commentors here —- have familiarized myself with dirty tricks & subterfuge the US has used and continues to use against other countries it doesn’t like. This isn’t to say that every other country is rainbows and unicorns, but wars or ‘humanitarian interventions’involving bombings rarely-RARELY produce positive outcomes for the average citizen under those bombs. Read up on these things and you’ll quickly realize the US is NOT doing these ‘regime changes’ for altruistic reasons.

      • Vivian
        May 4, 2019 at 09:18

        I’m sorry, did you actually bother to read anything I’ve said here? Or did you skim through while preparing your speech so you could feel like a super duper savior American keyboard hero? If you read through you’ll see that the first person to type that American interests wouldn’t be altruistic was me. So… if you would like to actually pause and read, and not read skimming for a remakes but just to sit with my point for a moment I’ll pay you the same courtesy if you reply.

    • anons4d2
      May 2, 2019 at 21:51

      Your story is false: you are not a Venezuelan aged 28; I would say that you are US-born and over 40. You claim to have attended a university there and apparently had the resources to come to the US soon afterward, so either your family had lots of money, or you found the economy there well able to support your middle class course, or were supported by the present government of Venezuela. That is indeed the story of the child of a “Venezuelan businessman who fled in the Chavez era.” But I think you made it up.

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 08:07

        Wow. The lack of empathy coming from such a self proclaimed activist is astonishing. Might I point out that I unlike you did not hide behind a false name. My story is not false. Tell me, why is it so hard to believe? What would be the implications for you if it were? Could it be that you are not 100% right?

      • Sadiq
        May 5, 2019 at 14:39

        Vivian,

        your eloquent english shows otherwise. You seem being either not a Venezuelan or live in an english speaking country for well more than a decade. You claim your name is not false which I believe.

        Norway is an interesting country. It has a strong social democrat party but conservetives are even stronger. They and capitalist elites of Norway played a “dirty” trick on the previous. Embraced generally socialist policies like a thorough welfare system, social security, education, health care etc. To the top of all, they have a state fund to cover those (not just socialism but outright communism!) that had invested in oil industries and tries to diversify into others like alternative energies.

        The above mentioned and the sheer amount of your comments give an impression that you are a clever professional.

    • Knute
      May 2, 2019 at 23:48

      Way to repeat what you heard on CNN. Awesome! You got it almost word for word by the script. A real feat. The info went right from their speaker to your mouth. Did not pass your brain. Did not collect 200 dollars.
      With those kinds by mimicking skills, you ought to try hollyweird. You could be up for an oscar instead of hanging out on comment pages.

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 08:26

        For you I’m just going to copy paste form my last paragraph to see if this time you take the time to read it. If you don’t it’s not really worth engaging with you.?????

        Perhaps if you spent less effort shielding yourselves from the uncomfortable truths and evidence against this government you could channel your activism to more constructive endeavors. If you really want to be a socialist, instead of refusing to see the failed socialist states as what they are you could allow yourselves to question what went wrong and find the flaws in your model and improve them. But that’s not what you are doing. What you are doing is claiming that I, and my pain and my experiences and my losses, am not real. Somehow, I am less human than you. And that’s the supremacist thinking that does the most damage.

      • Skip Scott
        May 3, 2019 at 12:00

        Vivian-

        I suggest you read John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” to find out what is in store for Venezuela should the USA regime change attempt succeed. I also noticed that you did not respond to Willow’s comment, most likely because you can’t make it fit into your “socialism is bad” narrative.

        I fully agree that the people of Venezuela should have the right to choose the type of government they desire without outside interference. The forces of empire, with it’s main base in the USA, doesn’t want that. International observers determined Chavez’s election to be “free and fair”, so socialism was the course chosen by the majority. The USA has actively worked to make Venezuelans’ lives miserable ever since. To state that “socialism doesn’t work” fails not only to ignore countries like Norway where socialism does work, but also to ignore the ongoing sabotage by the forces of empire. Harping about your personal experiences under socialism have no validity without considering the causes for the failure.

        I also notice you assume to speak for “all Venezuelans” when you say “all of us Venezuelans are wrong…” I doubt very much that you speak for the majority, let alone “all”. However, I would venture to guess that Maduro would gladly negotiate for new internationally observed elections, but Guaido has been ordered by his masters against pursuing that path.

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 16:59

        I replied to you on my reply to willow. Which I was not avoiding, I had not seen it.

        But also to you- how is the American imperialism you describe any different from the Russian and Cuban agendas being pushed on us also? And I don’t mean to sue the typical “but what about” argument here. I think I’m just trying to make the point that many different narratives are being pushed by many different outlets, and that perhaps the response shouldn’t be to to tell the Venezuelans what we should or shouldn’t read and scream at us in English from inside our embassy. Maybe people wanting to invest energy on helping the Venezuelan cause should start from a place of humility and asking questions from Venezuelans.

      • Skip Scott
        May 4, 2019 at 07:37

        Vivian-

        The difference is that the Russians and the Cubans will do business with Venezuela irrespective of it choosing to be a socialist country. They are not pushing an agenda, they are doing business. The USA could choose to do the same, but our “dictators” (the Oligarchy) desire to rule the entire world for the sake of maximum profit for themselves. Socialism is anathema to that goal, so it must be eradicated.

        I, and most of the commenters here, completely agree that Venezuelans should be able to choose their own form of government without ANY outside interference. That is not what is happening now. Guaido is a paid lackey for the western global capitalists. I repeat, PLEASE read “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins to get a clear picture of what is currently happening in Venezuela.

        FYI, I have been to Venezuela. I am a retired merchant seaman and have traveled much of the world. I have gained a true global perspective, and I have seen first hand the suffering of many of the world’s poor. Venezuelan’s have my sympathy. Corruption is rampant around the world; but do not look to America as a model. Our economy is all “smoke and mirrors,” and is about to implode. We have an ever increasing level of poverty, and a corrupt government that cares not a whit for the average person. Voting has become a worthless exercise of choosing a “lesser evil.” They keep us at continuous war in the vain attempt to prop up a dying empire, and I have friends with PTSD as a result. We must all learn to wage peace in a multi-polar world.

    • CitizenOne
      May 3, 2019 at 00:20

      Do you really not see that the entire global economic system and the US just wants to take over the national oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), end the Venezuelan government and its Constitution and turn the nation into a puppet CIA regime just like the CIA installed the Shah of Iran in a coup afterIran nationalized its oil fields? Iran had a democratically elected president too. After the US government staged a coup and installed the Shah, things did not get better for Iranians. Iran is still facing sanctions aimed at depriving them from revenue generated by their oil.

      How many CIA installed Banana Republics that kept the citizens as slave workers for the rich industrialists particularly in South America do you have to look past to reach your beliefs that the US is just doing all this for purely virtuous reasons trying to be the savior for the Venezuelan people. I am sorry for your suffering and loss but blaming liberals in America for that also looks past all of the real motives and desires of rich people and corporations to grab the biggest cash of oil on the planet.

      Unfortunately, the people of Venezuela have been caught up in this geopolitical struggle and have become the victims of it. They have been victimized by an international coalition led by the United States to drive Venezuela, which has the largest piggy bank on the planet, into starvation in order to create chaos and foment rebellion. Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) which upon its founding returned the majority of its profits to the people of Venezuela is also at war with the government while trying to give nothing to the people and keep everything for themselves.

      Venezuela is indeed facing two dooms. One by the corruption within the country and one from greedy establishments outside that would like to have unfettered access to all that oil and really don’t give a damn about anything else but money particularly not the tiny humans occupying the nation that the vast oil reserve is located.

      Was Cortez a liberal socialist or was he a vassal of the King of Spain? Did he bring peace and plenty or did he bring death and destruction in his grab for Gold?

      You have to look past a huge swath of the historical record to come to the baseless conclusion that a bunch of liberals in America are at the wheel steering the course of Venezuela. Quite frankly it is an absurd argument which is the opposite of reality.

      If you think that a CIA puppet will set things right you really need to ignore the history of US interventions in foreign nations for the last one hundred years.

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 08:20

        @citizenone this “do you really not see” is exactly what I mean. Why do you think we don’t see, why do you think we need you to enlighten us?
        Of course we see. Our oil has been our curse from the beginning. “Poor rich countries”. Our oil has led to corrupt after corrupt governments (capitalist and socialist).
        We don’t want the US in our country (not a bunch of US radicals taking over our embassy). We don’t want Russians or Cuban intervening in our country (and yet there they are). Neither Russian nor Cuban nor US interests are altruistic there, nobody is being naive. Our oil is our one leverage that gets us at least some attention from outside nations as we go through this WELL DOCUMENTES HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS (sorry for the caps, or just amazes me how everybody commenting this can turn the blind eye to that so easily).
        The thing is: the reason why there is an international proclamation of human rights is that these are rights that go beyond governments and sovereignty. The reason they were agreed upon is exactly so that if ever a government turned on this people, the world would intervene: through sanctions, through calls for moderation, and if necessary- though military intervention. The idea of a state’s sovereignty wasn’t supposed to protect dictatorships, it was supposed to protect democracies.
        The idea – just the idea- that a coalition of countries could come and hold you accountable if you commit atrocities is a deterrent. That idea is keeping my friends and family still there safer than they are now, that idea is what keeps the military shooting tear gas canisters (directly at them, mind you, a tear gas canister shot in close range at people is as deadest as a bullet) instead of shooting with guns is that they still believe they have to hide their intent to violate human rights because they know they would be accountable.
        Actions like the one taken in the embassy and radical, unseeing stances like the ones shared in this forum make the deterrent less clear. The red line Maduro and Padrino Lopez wont cross is less clear when the world is more set on protecting… whatever this is. You (the collective you) are endangering people.

        And for the ones here that are being like this because it is too horrible for you to consider that socialist states fail: wouldn’t you contribute more if instead of hiding from the truth you considered it and explored it and tried to figure out what goes wrong with your socialist theory drawn from old books and how to improve upon it based on what information you gather? Wouldn’t that lead to a better system?

      • CitizenOne
        May 3, 2019 at 18:00

        Yes, I agree that socialist systems fail. They usually fail. It is the reason for the failure that is important. If a government simply self corrupts and fails its citizens then there should be no protection. However if there are external sources for the corruption (and there are many in this case) then the defensive actions by the government including use of force against external foreign threats to the sovereign nation is justified. A nation has the right to defend itself even against the World Police. But they’re not cops at all. They are a bunch of bandits.

        The US has recognized an un-elected CIA trained wannabe leader as the true leader of Venezuela. If that is not the clearest picture of a coup in the making then what is? Venezuela has the right to defend itself and the citizens can go along with that plan or they can protest it but if they side with the coup and give it aid and comfort or materially support it they cannot expect that they will not experience the consequences of that decision. If the citizens want to use force to depose the government then the government is going to use force to stop them.

        As far as all the we need the international peace keepers to provide a credible threat I also agree. That’s the best part about atom bombs. Everyone is terrified about the consequences of using them but everyone knows they will be used as the last resort. So attacking those countries is kind of out of the question.

        But then there are the recent terrible examples of where demonstrating that a threat is credible by attacking a nation such as Syria, where a civil war ensued after Obama helped some folks who turned out to be ISIS by giving the Arab Spring flower carrying ISIS folks weapons. It wasn’t just Obama but a whole bunch of folks just like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who represented the naked greed side hidden with patriotism and all sorts of appeals to the hearts and minds of Americans that we were going to install a western friendly government there. That is not what happened. The country was largely destroyed, millions of refugees fled Syria, hundreds of thousands were killed and whole cities were razed like Aleppo. Look it up.

        We are not blind. We have seen this movie before and it has a really bad ending too often and the effects can have negative effects for a hundred years into the future. Look at Iran today and realize that this nation that burns the US flag, shouts death to America every single day and promises that it ever gets nukes it will happily launch them all even knowing that every last Iranian is dead in 30 minutes. They will be okay with that because some Muslims somewhere will survive thus they are the winners. Yes this is official Iranian policy. Scary stuff.

        The problem is we made that. We created that just by doing exactly what we are doing to Venezuela for exactly the same reasons to Iran. Look it up.

        And we keep doing it in some scary places too. China and Russia are not to be ignored and both nations have stated they oppose regime change in Venezuela. Russia has sent planes there and has no intention of leaving.
        Russia has felt the sting operations directly in Ukraine where the US worked with coup leaders to oust a democratically elected and Russia friendly president. Once that happened the nationalist forces in power used the military to attack ethnic Russians and Russia intervened to prevent genocide.

        The US just turned around and used Putin’s “aggression” which was a defense of his own people to create the story that Russia attacked Ukraine for no reason. Then Obama slapped billions of dollars in sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine and Annexing Crimea which was another defensive maneuver taken after the coup that would have never happened if the US had not actively participated in the downfall of the elected president.

        It must come as a shock that most here have little respect for Obama’s foreign policy decisions because he was a democrat or he was a liberal etc. What matters is that he risked nuclear war with Russia and apparently didn’t care.

        I also have to advocate for what will not destabilize the international order possibly bringing about cataclysmic war between superpowers. The fate of Venezuelans is a concern but there are others. We wouldn’t roll tanks across Russia’s borders declaring we were ending the Putin Regime, setting up our own guy and creating freedom and democracy there. At least I hope we wouldn’t. Come to think, I’m not really sure with the folks we have running the show.

        Anyway, spare us all the “we don’t know anything crap”. The truly dangerous folks are the ones that are brainwashed by the media and believe all the nonsense about hope and change and freedom and democracy.

        The US has installed so many dictators around the World and never gave a fig if they killed whoever they wanted to as long as they towed Washington’s line which was fairly simple. “Just don’t go commie on us” So many nations in South America tried and in every case, a CIA coup, then tens of thousands murdered or disappeared, then civil war then corruption etc etc.

        Just why do so many Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans and other citizens flee those nations by the millions. We really do not want to know. They risk there lives to get out. It seems that all the CIA coups have not had their desired effect? Hmm, something must be wrong? How did that happen? So now we have to live with all that blow back too. Because of our foreign policy of overthrowing socialists and replacing them with murdering dictators we now face wave after wave of immigrants threatening to destabilize the politics of the nation perhaps leading to civil war.

        In the end, I think a whole lot of socialist states would have never been born if not for the actions of the US in foreign countries which would then alleviate my need to find a way to fix them.

      • Vivian
        May 3, 2019 at 23:45

        I don’t think we disagree. I share your views of US foreign policy, particularly with Syria- not as much with Russia and Ukraine.

        And you alluded yo murdering dictators. Is that not what Maduro is? That’s the case I’m making here.

        Like the truth you are saying doesn’t negate this one. There can be capitalist dictators and there can be socialist one and they are both deadly. So can you make the case you are making without defending Maduro and wkthir defending the occupation of the Venezuelan embassy by American radical socialists?

    • Vivian
      May 3, 2019 at 17:22

      To everybody that has taken the time to response, I’ll also say:
      Perhaps it would be good to do the exercise of separating the arguments that are being mixed here into the stand alone facts.

      – you: US intervention in countries is always terrible and serves self interests. Agreed.

      – me: the idea that there is international supervision through sanctions and potential intervention on countries that serves as a deterrent of crazy governments committing human rights crime is not a bad idea. (Anybody agree?)

      – you think Venezuela is in crisis because of US sanctions. You are mistaken.

      A- There have been instances, during our most right wing government, that we had an international debt so high that the US and other countries blocked our ports with their war ships. The name “Usnavy” is actually a popular name in our coasts. Get it? “US NAVY”? That’s what people would see when they looked at the horizons. US sanctions have come and have gone and have not been tied to a socialism va capitalism thing.

      – Venezuela had more income during the Chavez years than it ever had had and it ever would have. This money was stolen. And there is soooo much evidence of that, you guys. Just like, google. Just at least have the curiosity to go and google it.

      – my opinion is that Venezuela is another example of how socialism doesn’t work. You can come back at me and say that I can’t point out at the corruption and then also argue that this is a good example of socialism, so that therefore I don’t have a basis for that argument. Fine. I’ll give you that one, I don’t need to win them all. Maybe Venezuela was not an ok socialism. (Maybe the socialist policies that out so much of the economy in the control of a centralized power allowed for the corruption to g unchecked and to have such a damaging impact. Maybe you can tell me that the same can be said for monopolies under capitalism. And maybe that just means neither one of the system is perfect and somebody should go back to the drawing board and figure that out instead of continuing to shove old theories around).

      – another debate. Did the venezualn government violate civil liberties and commit atrocious crimes against it people? Yes. The answer to that is yes. Like Hugo said, “a prince is NOTHING in the presence of a principle”. Your fight for socialism or against countries intervention should never and must never use as an argument a denial of this truth because it just spits at the fallen. This is not a game. People have DIED. People have been tortured. There is no reason why anybody should not look at the evidence and accept, and accuse.

      – Americans being in my embassy yelling at Venezuelans in Spanish from the inside is an example of misplaced intentions rooted in a savior complex and it is wrong. It is wrong. It is not a means to an end. It is just wrong.

    • Carl Rising-Moore
      May 4, 2019 at 00:36

      I suggest you take a look at the current state of affairs of Bolivia. Bolivia turned their back upon the IMF and World Bank that push the Neo fascist ideology…. just like you. The real president of Venezuela was duly elected by the people in an internationally monitored election… He is most certainly not a dictator. Put down the Kool-aid.

    • John T
      May 10, 2019 at 11:25

      “I’m not a brainwashed empire puppet.” You are right you sound like you are full of excrement.

  15. Brian James
    May 2, 2019 at 12:12

    May 1, 2019 As Venezuela Coup Fizzles, Pompeo Threatens US Attack

    Self-proclaimed Venezuelan president Juan Guaido’s coup yesterday failed to get off the ground.

    https://youtu.be/KbLXFRTXHck

  16. David Otness
    May 2, 2019 at 11:46

    Standing up to an immoral empire is an act of high conscience and to be applauded with fervor.

    I am so glad the people of this action are motivated to stand courageously for our ideals of freedom for all, and for the rule of Law.

  17. David G
    May 2, 2019 at 09:21

    Good job, Kevin and the Collective, on this important action!

    Dennis J. Bernstein & CN: Thanks for the interview, but why do you introduce it by saying the Collective are engaged in an “occupation of the embassy”? It’s not accurate – they are there at the invitation of the lawful owners – and they themselves have opted for the more pertinent word, “protection”.

  18. Sally Snyder
    May 2, 2019 at 07:49

    At a recent meeting of the leaders of Venezuela and Syria, it became clear that the war in Syria was a template for the upcoming battle over Venezuela:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/syria-template-for-war-in-venezuela.html

    At the very least, it appears that the current civil unrest in Venezuela is following the pattern set by Syria back in 2011 and that it is part of America’s new template for starting a regional war which will allow it to meet its global hegemonic agenda.

    • Nelson AND oLA Wight
      May 2, 2019 at 15:16

      Totally agreed, Sally.

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