Activists at Venezuelan Embassy Offer State Department a Peaceful Resolution to Standoff

Activists protecting the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington have written to the State Department offering a way to peacefully end the standoff between themselves and an argy mob of Guaidó supporters.

Activists who have lived inside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington for more than a month protecting it from seizure by an illegitimate government have offered the State Department a solution to the crisis unfolding at the diplomatic compound.  Last week the State Department pulled the credentials of Venezuelan diplomats—still recognized at the United Nations— preventing them from entering their place of work. Instead the U.S. recognized Venezuelan “diplomats” representing the self-declared “president” Juan Guaidó.

In an effort to evict the activists, police and the Secret Service have prevented anyone or even food from entering the building and have cut off electricity and water. They’ve also allowed an angry mob of Guaidó backers to intimidate the activists and their supporters on the street. Police have arrested supporters who have tried to toss food into open windows. Last week, Guaidó called for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela to install him in power after his failed coup attempt on April 30.   

Here is the letter that has been sent on Monday to the State Department and the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry .

 

ToU.S. State Department, Venezuelan Foreign Ministry

From: Embassy Protection Collective

Re: Exiting the Venezuelan Embassy

Date: May 13, 2019

This is the 34th day of our living in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC. We are prepared to stay another 34 days, or however long is needed to resolve the embassy dispute in a peaceful way consistent with international law.

This memo is being sent to the U.S. and Venezuela as well as members of our Collective and allies. We are encouraging people to publish this memo as a transparent process is needed to prevent the U.S. from making a unilateral decision that could impact the security of embassies around the world and lead to military conflict.

There are two ways to resolve the issues around the Venezuelan embassy in DC, which we will explain.

Before doing so, we reiterate that our collective is one of independent people and organizations not affiliated with any government. While we are all U.S. citizens, we are not agents of the United States. While we are here with permission of the Venezuelan government, we are not their agents or representatives.

We are here in the embassy lawfully. We are breaking no laws. We did not unlawfully enter and we are not trespassing.

1. Exiting with a Protecting Power Agreement

The exit from the embassy that best resolves issues to the benefit of the United States and Venezuela is a mutual Protecting Power Agreement. The United States wants a Protecting Power for its embassy in Caracas. Venezuela wants a Protecting Power for its embassy in DC. Such agreements are not uncommon when diplomatic relations are severed.

A Protecting Power Agreement would avoid a military conflict that could lead to war. A war in Venezuela would be catastrophic for Venezuela, the United States, and for the region. It would lead to lives lost and mass migration from the chaos and conflict of war. It would cost the United States trillions of dollars and become a quagmire involving allied countries around the world.

We are serving as interim protectors in the hope that the two nations can negotiate this resolution. If this occurs we will take the banners off the building, pack our materials, and leave voluntarily. The electricity could be turned on and we will drive out.

We suggest a video walk-through with embassy officials to show that the Embassy Protection Collective did not damage the building. The only damage to the building has been inflicted by coup supporters in the course of their unprosecuted break-ins.

2. The United States violates the Vienna Convention, makes an illegal eviction and unlawful arrests

This approach will violate international law and is fraught with risks. The United States would have to cut the chains in the front door put up by embassy staff and violate the embassy. We have put up barriers there and at other entrances to protect us from constant break-ins and threats from the trespassers whom the police are permitting outside the embassy. The police’s failure to protect the embassy and the U.S. citizens inside has forced us to take these actions.

The Embassy Protectors will not barricade ourselves, or hide in the embassy in the event of an unlawful entry by police. We will gather together and peacefully assert our rights to remain in the building and uphold international law.

Any order to vacate based on a request by coup conspirators that lack governing authority will not be a lawful order. The coup has failed multiple times in Venezuela. The elected government is recognized by the Venezuelan courts under Venezuelan law and by the United Nations under international law. An order by the U.S.-appointed coup plotters would not be legal.

Such an entry would put embassies around the world and in the United States at risk. We are concerned about U.S. embassies and personnel around the world if the Vienna Convention is violated at this embassy. It would set a dangerous precedent that would likely be used against U.S. embassies.

If an illegal eviction and unlawful arrests are made, we will hold all decision-makers in the chain of command and all officers who enforce unlawful orders accountable.

If there is a notice that we are trespassing and need to vacate the premises, please provide it to our attorney Mara Verhayden-Hilliard, copied on this memo.

We have taken care of this embassy and request a video tour of the building before any arrests.

We hope a wise and calm solution to this issue can be achieved so escalation of this conflict can avoided.

There is no need for the United States and Venezuela to be enemies. Resolving this embassy dispute diplomatically should lead to negotiations over other issues between the nations.

The Embassy Protection Collective

May 13, 2019

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24 comments for “Activists at Venezuelan Embassy Offer State Department a Peaceful Resolution to Standoff

  1. FJ Gottlieb
    May 15, 2019 at 09:17

    “Elected” government of Venezuela??

    Please, those elections were a FRAUD!!!

    Maduro stole the elections, as any one who has any inkling of what’s going on there knows.

    I’m so tired of people who have no idea the horrors that the Venezuelan people have suffered (which have caused mass migrations) directly supporting a dictatorship.

    Shame on all of them

    • Realist
      May 15, 2019 at 10:09

      So, those people should have a coup and install a hand-picked puppet of Donald Trump because that’s what you believe or were coached to say? Jimmie Carter has been an objective observer of the national elections in Venezuela and says they are the fairest he’s ever seen–more fair than the shenanigans that go on in the United States.

    • hetro
      May 15, 2019 at 13:38

      The elections were run according to the constitution of Venezuela with a turnout of 46%, with Maduro getting over 60% (something like 67%) of the vote. The election was then verified by 150 international observers from 30 countries.

      Let’s have more on how Maduro “stole the elections” instead of assertions that sound like they come straight from Juan Guaido and his American handlers.

  2. May 14, 2019 at 18:58

    Those activists inside the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. need to be removed forcefully and sent packing.

    • Realist
      May 15, 2019 at 00:50

      Because you think Trump is king of the world and can unilaterally decide the leadership of every country on earth irrespective of the wishes of its people?

    • Silly Me
      May 15, 2019 at 06:40

      How do you know what they need? Are you Good Almighty?

      And why exactly are you saying what you are saying?

  3. Elizabeth Barger
    May 14, 2019 at 13:49

    The protectors inside the embassy are there in a patriotic and legal action requested by the Venezuelan government to protect their property and embassy integrity while differences with the US government with the elected government and the failed coup in the country are worked out. The reasons for the protectors actions are clearly stated above. Anyone who as witnessed the unruly actions of the mob of coup sympathizers outside the embassy makes this very clear that this is a thoughtful and courageous action to maintain peace and safety of diplomatic relationships around the world. I am thankful that we have citizens in America who are intelligent and morally centered who will put their lives and sacred honor on the line to maintain correct outcomes.

    • Billy Bob
      May 17, 2019 at 08:22

      It has been obvious for decades that the USA does not give a flying bleep about international conventions and law (e.g treaties). The USA invokes them when it suits its interests and ignores them when it does not.

      As Chris Hedges has observed, failing empires do crazy things in their demise, believing that successfully executing one of them would restore their primacy. This whole Venezuela coup, along with the current idiocy of threatening Iran, are just signs of that craziness.

      But, you are right. This is an amazing thing that has never before happened. Principled USA citizens are occupying a foreign embassy at the invite of the UN recognized government of that embassy to stop the USA from handing it over to the coup plotters which the USA thinks should be in government. This has never happened before.

      The occupants are absolutely in the right, and the officers and their superiors who ordered their eviction will and should be held to account. Executing illegal actions as a member of law enforcement does not make the illegal legal. It will be very interesting to see if a) charges are brought, and b) how that case is handled (which court, which judge, nature of proceedings being public or ‘in camera’).

      This is fault line. The prosecution of Manning and Assange are others. The USA regime is out of control (again). It is attacking journalists and citizens (again).

      • Rosalie Yelen
        May 19, 2019 at 11:05

        Well said. Wish the United Nations had some teeth and could punish this and other rogue nations for gross violations like this.

  4. May 14, 2019 at 11:39

    Rogue nation, they are definitely full of guano! No rule of law but their own, eh? I just called WH 202-456-1111 to state briefly that Trump campaigned against intervention but took on Bolton and Pompeo and we’re watching, he should get rid of them and their bad advice. Trump has such a big ego, if people start calling he may notice. China and Russia aren’t going to sit back and watch this passively, that’s for sure!

  5. Realist
    May 14, 2019 at 00:53

    The latest news I have read indicates that the “police” have raided the embassy, arrested the occupants as illegal trespassers and have handed control of the structure “back” to the U.S.-recognised Guano government. They refuse to implement recognised constitutional American law and take the matter to a court or to honor the holding of the U.N. general assembly that the Maduro government is still the legitimate rulers of Venezuela. Apparently, the U.S. State Department operates as though it is the arbiter of all human concerns on the planet and that all other governments both foreign and domestic must bow to its dictates. Clearly it is nowhere in the constitution that the DC Police take their marching orders from the White House. They are supposed to answer to a different chain of command, ultimately the Congress I believe. (Not that there is any greater wisdom or impartiality there.) Other local jurisdictions would answer not to the president but to their state governors. Plus the courts would get involved if petitioned, as the occupiers had requested. This is strong man rule.

    Meanwhile, the march to war with Iran continues apace. Claims have been made that three oil tankers with American connections were sabotaged by “parties unknown,” although the strong implication is that Iran “did the deed” (as if they are tired of living). From the looks of the damage, the U.S. should first check the area for any scuttled American warships, considering their propensity to colliding with cargo vessels.

    Concomitant with this tall tale, sources from the Department of Defense report that definitive plans are on the table to send 120,000 American troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks Washington forces or its “interests,” or if Iran re-establishes a nuclear weapons development program. Iran is presently being accused of causing the deaths of upwards of 500 American soldiers in the Syria-Iraq theater. Since Washington never has to present evidence to substantiate its claims, consider it fait accompli that Iran will soon be targeted by the next incarnation of Shock and Awe. These yahoos are moving fast before anyone sensible can rein them in.

    I don’t know how many seconds there can possibly be left before that infamous clock supposedly ushering in World War III strikes midnight. The maniacs in Washington are quite clearly telegraphing their intent to ruin everybody’s day from here to eternity. I don’t think these are alarmist interpretations of their moves.

  6. Sam F
    May 13, 2019 at 22:28

    The embassy protectors are doing the right thing however hopeless it may seem. They have made the point well that the US is a rogue dictatorship of the rich. They cannot be expected to suffer extremely, although the government goons will much amplify their point if they make that mistake.

    Anyone with access to a large drone could deliver basic food and water with frequent trips to the roof. How about an Amazon delivery drone?

    Or a spare ambulance or armored vehicle brings the supplies under armed guard.

    Their lawyer should apply for a court order to restore electricity and water.

    Local college activists can assemble nearby until they outnumber the loonies, and carry food and supplies to the embassy with a vanguard of stout young fellows in yellow vests. Perhaps at night when the paid loonies are at home. Or is there no one of principle in the District of Corruption?

  7. Jill
    May 13, 2019 at 21:30

    I believe the successful coup has been in the US. It has been a long time coming to fruition and accelerated under Trump. It appears to me that we do not have elected officials running this nation. These unelected figures have self declared as what I would call neocon dictators. They appear to have military/”law” enforcement backup.

    The betrayal of our own nation is an action difficult to fathom. Apparently, some of these people are religious lunatics, others a power mongers. The lackeys doing their work, such as Mayor Bowser and the DC police are simply not understandable to me. There are just some things no one should do, not for money, not for power. One of those things is to betray one’s own nation and fellow citizens.

    There are still some protectors in the embassy. The police have evidently put their own lock on the door. We will see what they will do next. We will all rue this day.

  8. Jill
    May 13, 2019 at 19:59

    MPD lackeys are evicting protectors now. There may be a few people left. See codepink and telesur twitter for updates.

  9. mike k
    May 13, 2019 at 17:34

    In the US today the law simply represents the will of the rich and powerful. There is no justice or real law in the USA – to think so is to be the victim of a complete fraud and set of lies. We need to replace this criminal government with one that respects real justice.

  10. Realist
    May 13, 2019 at 17:13

    “Last week the State Department pulled the credentials of Venezuelan diplomats—still recognized at the United Nations— preventing them from entering their place of work. Instead the U.S. recognized Venezuelan “diplomats” representing the self-declared “president” Juan Guaidó.”

    Wow, this is absolutely stunning. The out-of-control American regime has unilaterally commandeered duties and prerogatives of the collective United Nations. No matter the consensus of the nearly 200 nations within that body, the United States government is obviously insisting that only IT will make crucial decisions for that entire body. It will be interesting to learn how Russia, China, as well as numerous other countries, feel about losing all influence and collective power in the “world organisation” to the megalomaniacs in Washington, who now believe and act like they solely decide for all. This was essentially a proclamation that Washington alone runs the world. When did Putin and Xi get texted? This was a de facto coup against the U.N. Not that the U.N. ever had a lot of real power, but now even the charade that it does, or that it should, has been thrown on the scrape heap by the assumedly omnipotent Trump administration (possibly sans Trump, if Pompeo and Bolton decide to act on their deranged instincts). What’s their next move? Special ops forces lock down the entire U.N. Building and incarcerate all the diplomats the Neocons despise… a move not unlike what Mohammed bin Sultan pulled in the kingdom a few months ago?

    • David G
      May 13, 2019 at 18:32

      Could you please cite a source or link for the news about the U.S. interfering with Venezuelan diplomats accredited to the U.N.?

      I’ve been wondering how that would play out, especially when the heads of state start showing up in New York in September for the General Assembly, but haven’t seen anything about it.

      • Realist
        May 15, 2019 at 00:45

        Yes, the second paragraph of this very article. That’s where the quote I cited was taken from. It was authored by the people that had been occupying the embassy who claimed to represent the interests of the elected Venezuelan (Maduro) government.

        If you require sources from the MSM, good luck with that. They don’t think you can handle the truth so they pretty much don’t report it or they twist it beyond all recognition. They all assume that the “diplomats” recognised by the Trump administration are the legitimate representatives of Venezuela, which is laughable, especially considering that half of Americans don’t recognise Trump as their legitimate president. Ironic, no?

        • David G
          May 15, 2019 at 08:48

          Ah. I see now you were quoting the introduction by the CN editor, which I had skipped, rather than the letter by the Collective itself. That explains the careless phrasing which confused me.

          So I’m still left wondering whether the U.S. will allow this madness to affect its obligations as host nation of the U.N. Possibly not.

    • Justgail68
      May 13, 2019 at 19:36

      Ah calm down, the USA didn’t decide anything for the UN. The USA made a decision certainly didn’t hear the USA telling the UN they cannot keep on acknowledging Venezuela the way they want.

      • Realist
        May 15, 2019 at 00:33

        What are you talking about? Firstly, the U.S. made a claim which it was not legally empowered to make. Secondly, it took drastic action based upon that groundless claim.

        You are in effect telling the UN that it can suck on it. It can make collective decisions which can be pompously flouted by unilateral American actions.

        Washington does not have such rights, yet it imperiously seizes them. It acts like a global tyranny. Get a clue.

        You are basically saying that America can go on acting like a bunch of fascists as long as we continue to pretend we are democrats. Those seem to be the values you just expressed whether you realised it or not.

  11. Edgar Palacio
    May 13, 2019 at 16:39

    I admire this real followers of the law and the justice.

  12. May 13, 2019 at 16:36

    It is great to know that some public groups in USA understand and respect international law even though their governments do not.

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