Codepink Holds Press Event Outside Venezuelan Embassy

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Medea Benjamin of Codepink talks to the press on 30th Street across from the Embassy of Venezuela. Photo by Katherine Schwartz.

On Monday, May 13, social-justice group Codepink held a press conference outside of the Embassy of Venezuela on 30th Street in Georgetown to discuss the recent escalation of protests surrounding the building. Codepink supporters, antiwar groups and Maduro-sympathizers gathered in the rain, chanting: “Donald Trump? Hell no! Juan Guaidó? Hell no!”

Discussing the evolution of the scene since she first arrived in late April, Codepink co-founder Medea Benjamin said, “The first few weeks, there was no problem. We went in and out as we pleased, there was no violence, no nothing. When these people [counterprotesters] arrived, they were allowed to set up an encampment that went all the way around the perimeter of the building. They also blockaded every entrance of the building and didn’t let us deliver any food.”

On Friday, May 10, Pepco, the electric utility, cut off electricity to the embassy. Commenting on the cutoff, Benjamin said, “You have people inside who are without food, without water, without electricity. This is an absolute disaster for them as human beings. But, also, it is such an illegal act on the part of the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police because we are here lawfully at the invitation of the Maduro Government.”

Meanwhile, counterprotesters and Guaidó supporters carried signs reading “Illegal embassy invasion hurts all Venezuelans” and “Invaders, how much did you get paid for this job? Maduro crime family is your boss!”

As Ann Wright, a retired U.S. State Department official, stood with Benjamin addressing the audience, one Venezuelan counterprotester shouted, “They’re not representing the majority of the Venezuelan people. They’re representing the minority.”

Metropolitan Police officer stands outside Embassy of Venezuela on 30th Street NW, where grassy area next to the C&O Canal contains crosses indicating victims of Maduro regime. Photo by Katherine Schwartz.
Anti-Maduro protestors have set up camp outside Embassy of Venezuela on 30th Street in Georgetown. Photo by Katherine Schwartz.
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