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Activists Arrested in Venezuelan Embassy in Washington After a Monthlong Occupation
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50798"><span class="small">Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY</span></a>   
Friday, 17 May 2019 08:11

Wu writes: "Tensions have been mounting at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., where liberal activists from the group CODEPINK have occupied the building for the past month. On Thursday morning, things finally came to a head when law enforcement personnel entered the embassy to arrest and remove the activists."

Members of Code Pink, center, are surrounded by supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó outside of the Venezuelan Embassy on Saturday. (photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)
Members of Code Pink, center, are surrounded by supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó outside of the Venezuelan Embassy on Saturday. (photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)


Activists Arrested in Venezuelan Embassy in Washington After a Monthlong Occupation

By Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

17 May 19

 

ensions have been mounting at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C., where liberal activists from the group CODEPINK have occupied the building for the past month. On Thursday morning, things finally came to a head when law enforcement personnel entered the embassy to arrest and remove the activists.

In a press release, CODEPINK said that their activists were charged with "interference with certain protective functions." The Department of Justice could not confirm these charges.

Activists have been occupying the embassy since April 10, but only four activists remained in the embassy after a Monday notice from American officials to leave the premises.

The four-story building has been vacant since the beginning of this year, when President Donald Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, instead of the current Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

According to a State Department spokesperson, the Guaido government asked the U.S. to remove the protestors from the embassy, so American law enforcement personnel cleared the embassy.

In a statement, CODEPINK denounced the arrests and slammed the Guaido government.

“This struggle is far from over. We will continue to fight to stop this embassy from being handed over by the Guaidó supporters,” said CODEPINK Codirector Medea Benjamin.

The activists believe that giving the Guaido government control over the embassy could endanger the American Embassy in Venezuela, and had refused to leave until a diplomatic solution could be worked out between the Trump administration and the Maduro government. The State Department withdrew all of its remaining personnel from Venezuela in March.

Carlos Vecchio, the Guaido government's ambassador to the United States, was thankful for the removal of the protestors.

“Thanks to the government of the U.S., the State Department and law enforcement agencies for their support to enforce the laws and international treaties," he wrote in a statement "The usurpation stopped. We keep advancing."

The Trump administration does not consider the Maduro government to be legitimate, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has highlighted alleged rights abuses and economic mismanagement under Maduro.

On April 30, Guaido led an effort to oust Maduro, but the uprising failed after the country’s military sided with Maduro instead of the opposition.

At the time, Pompeo told Fox Business that “military action is possible” by the U.S. government to assist Guaido. Reuters reported yesterday evening that representatives of the Maduro and Guaido governments are currently meeting in Norway to discuss a negotiated solution to the crisis.

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+11 # Anne Frank 2019-05-17 09:54
After illegally occupying the Venezuelan Embassy, the U.S. government no longer has any standing to criticize the occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran
 
 
+5 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-05-17 15:55
I say we demand that Nancy Pelosi is the "recognized" President of the United States and Trump must go into exile.
 
 
+3 # dascher 2019-05-17 17:37
The "Guaido Government"??? not even "self-proclaime d government"? Wow. The Washington Post is way out ahead.
 
 
0 # DongiC 2019-05-18 08:07
Good thing they are meeting (Representative s of Masduro and Guaido) in Norway on their peace seeking mission. They would have little chance if they met in DC. Norway is infinitely saner than the Trump-led Disunited States.