You may have missed it in all of the ongoing Venezuela coverage focusing on Caracas, but there’s been a smaller version of the current troubles in that nation unfolding right in Washington, D.C. After the United States recognized Juan Guaido as the interim President of that country, he appointed a new ambassador to our country named Carlos Vecchio. But Ambassador Vecchio hasn’t been able to get into the Venezuelan embassy in Washington because it’s being “occupied” by protesters who support Nicolas Maduro. They’re primarily comprised of Code Pink members and other random socialists, but they’ve locked themselves in for some time.
In response, officials have cut off the power and, allegedly, the water (the utility company denies the water was cut off), and counter-protesters have not allowed anyone to bring in food. This has been going on for a couple of weeks. Finally, an eviction notice was delivered two days ago. (Washington Post)
After weeks of an intensifying standoff in Washington between backers of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and left-leaning activists who support embattled President Nicolás Maduro, officers posted eviction notices to the Venezuelan Embassy doors late Monday and began to clear tents and canopies from the courtyard.
Both sides had made themselves at home in recent weeks — with left-leaning activists from Code Pink, Popular Resistance and Answer Coalition living inside the embassy since April 10, and pro-Guaidó demonstrators guarding the building’s entrances and exits since April 30.
It was not immediately clear which agency issued the eviction notices, though Carlos Vecchio, the Guaidó-appointed ambassador who has been recognized by the U.S. government, tweeted on Monday that he and his diplomatic team would “announce next steps soon.”
So how will this issue be resolved? Never fear! the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. is on the way. His visit today was announced in advance and he hopes to bring in food and supplies for those inside the embassy. And whose side is Jackson taking? From the sounds of it, Maduro’s. Here’s part of the official statement from his Rainbow Push coalition.
The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., together with other faith leaders, will hold a press conference in front of the Embassy of Venezuela on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. to advocate for a non-violent, negotiated resolution to the crisis there and to show support for the Embassy Protection Collective that has been peacefully living in the embassy to protect it from being illegally taken over by the opposition. Concerned about the lack of food and water for the members of the collective still inside the building, he will attempt to take them supplies.
In a press release dated April 30, 2019, Reverend Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said, “No matter which side one supports in the political and increasingly violent crisis in Venezuela, the United States must never support regime change by military coup. We cannot proclaim to be the world’s strongest democracy and at the same time encourage military takeover anywhere around the globe, let alone in our own hemisphere. It is our moral obligation to condemn all coups. Despite how difficult the situation is, we must continue to advocate and support a non-violent, negotiated resolution to the crisis in Venezuela.”
So Jackson, Rainbow Push, Code Pink, and the other groups holed up in the embassy are all taking the side of Nicolas Maduro, the dictator currently keeping his own people in similar conditions of starvation all over his nation. Wanting to help out the people inside the embassy if they have no food is understandable, but they’ve been ordered to leave. At this point, talking them into departing would be doing them more of a favor.
Of course, there are so many complicating factors taking place here that it’s difficult to see how American officials deal with it. The property inside the embassy is technically in the United States, but the interior is supposed to be under the sovereign control of their country… in this case, Venezuela. The people inside are there with the permission of Nicolas Maduro, but he ordered the closure of the embassy in January. The United States has officially recognized Guaido (and his new ambassador), but one look at their home country will tell you that Maduro is still in power.
If our law enforcement officials go in there and remove the protesters, they are either doing so in violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty or with the permission of their interim president. You can see how complicated this is. It’s difficult to imagine Jesse Jackson being able to straighten this out, particularly when he’s still supporting Maduro’s claim. But hey… if he can pull it off, best of luck to him.