Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor
Code Pink faced backlash Thursday and Friday as the activist group holed up in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., claiming to hold the territory for dictator Nicolas Maduro.
“[Code Pink] is a harmless joke of an organization. But this LARPing at the Venezuelan embassy is mildly sinister. Millions of Venezuelans struggle for free and fair elections. And Code Pink defends Venezuela’s tyrant,” Bloomberg opinion columnist Eli Lake tweeted, “Call this stunt what it is, an act of moral illiteracy.”
.@codepink is a harmless joke of an organization. But this LARPing at the Venezuelan embassy is mildly sinister. Millions of Venezuelans struggle for free and fair elections. And Code Pink defends Venezuela’s tyrant. Call this stunt what it is, an act of moral illiteracy.
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) May 3, 2019
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) May 2, 2019
Too funny…all these trolls supporting the Maduro regime are simply outraged that I would suggest handling @codepink usurping the #Venezuela embassy in Washington in the same manner as Maduro treats his own people…no water, no electricity, feeding them CRAP I mean CLAP…
— Eric Farnsworth (@ericfarns) May 2, 2019
The U.S. State Department ordered Venezuelan diplomats representing the Maduro regime to return to Venezuela, recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of the Venezuelan people — and Code Pink activists took over the vacated building, saying that they had permission from the “legitimate president” to stay there.
CodePink national co-director Ariel Gold spoke with Democracy Now! earlier this week about why she and other activists are occupying the Venezuelan embassy in D.C. “We call ourselves the Embassy Protection Collective,” she said. https://t.co/tEiNGCJ8eY pic.twitter.com/RMQs2PlDu4
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) May 2, 2019
They all stood to sing the national anthem. Several here began to cry.
The embassy has become a proxy fight for pro- and anti-Maduro groups, but the factions out here are split along ethnic lines. The pro-Maduro group inside are Americans. Opposition supporters are Venezuelan. pic.twitter.com/zxSAeceIZB
— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa_Jae) May 1, 2019
But because the U.S. officially recognizes Guaido as the interim president, for representatives of the unrecognized Maduro regime cannot legally reside within the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.
The State Department issued a statement Thursday calling for the protesters to vacate the building.
Any unauthorized individuals on the property are trespassers.
The Venezuelan government, led by interim President Juan Guaido, has legal authority over the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. We encourage the remaining unauthorized individuals to vacate the building and to conduct any future protest peacefully and through legal means.
Tom Rogan writes for the Washington Examiner:
Title 18, Chapter 7, Section 112-B of the U.S. criminal code makes it a federal offense to interfere with the lawful activities of a foreign diplomatic officer or facility.
Rogan also noted in his article the irony in the group’s claim to be fighting against “American imperialism” while simultaneously “unlawfully occupying a foreign embassy without its government’s permission.”
These Americans claim they are working to counter American imperialism, but in fact they are unlawfully occupying a foreign embassy without its government’s permission.@TomRTweets explains: https://t.co/cL43ZgfeT4
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 3, 2019
Republican Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton sent a letter directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to have the pro-Maduro protesters removed. (RELATED: Code Pink Protesters Removed From Pompeo Confirmation Hearing)
The U.S. must remain strong in its support of the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government led by interim president @jguaido.
— Rep. Scott Tipton (@RepTipton) May 3, 2019
But Code Pink has shown no sign of movement. When Guaido’s appointed representative, Gustavo Tarre Briceño, arrived at the Georgetown building, he was called an “assassin” and a “puppet of the U.S. government.”
How OAS imposter @tarrebriceno was welcomed at the Maduro government’s US embassy today:
“You are not welcome here! This is not your embassy!”
“You are an assassin!”
“Tarre: denounce the US sanctions that are killing your ppl in VZLA!”
“You’re a puppet of the US government!” pic.twitter.com/e59wdPPyWG
— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) May 3, 2019
The group also put out a call for reinforcements, saying, “To all who care about protecting international law & preventing another catastrophic US regime change operation: COME TO THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY IN DC TOMORROW!”
To all who care about protecting international law & preventing another catastrophic US regime change operation:
COME TO THE VENEZUELAN EMBASSY IN DC TOMORROW!
As the thuggish opposition harasses and assaults peace activists, let’s surround the embassy with love & resistance!
— CODEPINK (@codepink) May 3, 2019
Code Pink’s assertion that the U.S. is responsible for the chaos and “devastation” in Venezuela — and the demand that military action be avoided at all costs, has been echoed by embattled Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.