News Release

Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Arrested in Unprecedented Raid

Four members of the Embassy Protection Collective, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Adrienne Pine and David Paul were arrested this morning after the U.S. government raided the Venezuelan embassy in an apparently unprecedented move that legal experts described as an open violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Zeese and Flowers are with the group PopularResistance.org. See piece the Embassy Protection Collective issued to resolve the standoff. See comments shortly after their arrest by their lawyer, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard

Pine — who stated “this is an illegal order that they’re following” as she was driven off in a police vehicle — is an associate professor of anthropology at American University. A piece she wrote was just published: “An Academic Arrested for Protecting the Venezuela Embassy.” She wrote: “As an anthropologist who has researched and published on Honduras for over 20 years, I have witnessed and lived firsthand the devastating consequences of the U.S.-based coup in that country. That coup, like the one that is being attempted in Venezuela, was plotted by a small group of wealthy elites with the principal aims of privatizing the public sector for their own financial gain, tightening their control over the thriving illegal drug trade, and deregulating and capturing for themselves and their foreign allies the profits of the lucrative extractive sector.”

JEB SPRAGUE, js6hc at virginia.edu, @jebsprague
Sprague just wrote the piece “Who’s Behind the Pro-Guaidó Crowd Besieging Venezuela’s D.C. Embassy?” with Mintpress News reporter Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi), who extensively covered events from inside and outside the embassy. In their piece, heavily backed up with links to videos, they write: “On April 30 — the same day self-proclaimed ‘president’ Juan Guaidó staged a failed military coup — pro-Guaidó Venezuelans initiated their siege of the embassy. As they converged on the premises, some unleashed a wave of violentmisogynistic, and racist attacks on peace activists both inside and outside the building.”

Sprague is a lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Virginia. His books include the just-released Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class.

GAEL MURPHY, gaelmurphy at gmail.com@codepink
A member of the Embassy Protection Collective, Murphy was in the embassy from May 1 till May 6; her stepfather died on May 5. She notes around ten people left the embassy over the last several days to preserve the food and water since the State Department, Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department were effectively laying siege to the embassy. Electricity and water were cutoff. She also highlighted the police repeatedly turning a blind eye to the violence of rightwing “pro-democracy” protesters. Several activists see the siege of the embassy as a microcosm of what the U.S. is doing economically to Venezuela.

See Institute for Public Accuracy news release on recent study by Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs: “Venezuela: U.S Sanctions Killing Tens of Thousands.” See CodePink events calendar for continuing protests regarding Venezuela.