For Immediate Release
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jodie Evans, national media coordinator, (310) 621-5635
Venezuelan Opposition Blockading Venezuelan Embassy in DC Blockading Building, Refusing to Allow Medicine and Food Inside
WASHINGTON - There is an emergency situation at the DC Venezuelan embassy, where the opposition has set up a blockade to stop food or medicine from getting inside the building since 5pm yesterday. Peaceful activists who have been protecting the embassy for the past two weeks are being verbally assaulted and threatened with physical attack as they try to get in the building. Police are refusing to ensure physical safety and assist entry of medicine and food.
Activists of the Embassy Protection Collective, a coalition of individuals and organizations such as CODEPINK, Answer Coalition, and Popular Resistance, have been staying in the Venezuelan embassy with permission from the legitimate Maduro government for three weeks now. On Tuesday April 30th, opposition supporters began to gather outside the Embassy, shouting racial and sexist slurs and attempting to violently charge at members of the Collective protecting the front and back entrances.
Throughout the past two days, the opposition has attempted to take away food and water being given to the activist presence outside, but yesterday the situation became more urgent with the crowd of Guaido supporters fully preventing any food or medicine to enter the Embassy. In response, members of the Collective outside of the building plan to form a peaceful corden at 12 noon today to get supplies to activists inside.
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CODEPINK is appalled at the administration’s violation of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations, which stipulate that diplomatic premises are inviolable. Maduro is the UN-recognized president, not Guaidó. Guaidó representatives have no right to the embassy. They cannot provide any diplomatic or consular services because they have no power inside Venezuela.
The Embassy Protection Collective calls on the Trump administration to cease its efforts to overthrow the government of Venezuela and to return the Embassy back into the hands of the elected Maduro government. The U.S. could take a diplomatic stance on the crisis in Venezuela by encouraging dialogue, facilitated by Mexico and the Vatican, between the Maduro administration and the opposition, but instead it is pushing Venezuela towards a violent civil war that could last for decades.
“It is totally ILLEGAL and dangerous for the U.S. to hand over the keys of the embassy to an unelected opposition,” said CODEPINK Paki Wieland. “I believe in peace and the rule of law, and we are the legal tenants of this Embassy with permission from the Venezuelan government. There is no reason why the police presence should be allowing the opposition’s attempts to starve us out of the building.”
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CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.