What Is Happening at the Venezuelan Embassy Is an Outrage
BREAKING: Police have begun evicting representatives of the international NGO Code Pink who have barricaded themselves in the embassy.
Determined to avoid another war, a group of US peace activists sought and received permission from the legitimate Venezuelan government to form an Embassy Protection Collective
by Medea Benjamin
Published on Tuesday, May 07, 2019
by Common Dreams
On May 1 our peaceful presence was violently besieged by angry Guaido supporters. (Photo: Codepink)
Right here in Washington DC an unprecedented showdown is unfolding. Venezuelan supporters of self-declared interim president Juan Guaido have been trying to take over the Venezuelan Embassy. This goes against international law, the wishes of the government in control in Venezuela, and the dogged determination of a group of US citizens called the Embassy Protection Collective, who have been living in the Embassy since April 15.
A takeover of the embassy of a sovereign nation whose government holds power and is recognized by the United Nations would be illegal according to the 1961 Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, which says that diplomatic premises are inviolable and the receiving State must protect the premises against any “intrusion, disturbance of the peace or impairment of its dignity.”
This has nothing to do with whether one likes Nicolas Maduro or considers the Venezuelan elections fair. My Saudi friends in Washington DC hate Mohammad Bin Salman—a man who has NEVER been elected by anyone—but the US government would never let them take over the Saudi Embassy. Chinese dissidents say that “winners” of Chinese rigged elections—with only the Communist Party allowed to exist—should not be recognized by the rest of world, but they would never get access to the Chinese Embassies. Likewise for dissidents from Egypt, Honduras, Syria, Zambia, Congo, Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc.—all countries with highly questionable elections, to put it mildly.
The inflammatory act of handing over the Venezuelan Embassy to Guiado supporters would also have the potential to dramatically escalate the conflict between the United States and Venezuela.
The inflammatory act of handing over the Venezuelan Embassy to Guiado supporters would also have the potential to dramatically escalate the conflict between the United States and Venezuela. If the Trump administration were to allow this, the Maduro government would likely reciprocate by taking over the US Embassy. This could be just what warhawks John Bolton and Elliot Abrams are looking for as a justification for a US military intervention.
Determined to avoid another war, a group of US peace activists sought and received permission from the legitimate Venezuelan government to form an Embassy Protection Collective. Since April 15, a group has been living in the Embassy, sleeping on couches and floors, while outside supporters have been providing supplies and joining them for meals and educational events.