Liberal American activists from the group Code Pink are facing backlash for occupying the abandoned Venezuelan embassy in Washington while defending the regime of illegitimate dictator Nicolás Maduro.
About 50 activists from the women-led anti-war group have lived in the embassy for several weeks to show their support for the socialist dictator and vowed to protect the building from a “hostile takeover,” reported Fox News.
The U.S. State Department has labeled them as “trespassers” and has encouraged them to vacate the building, according to a statement.
“The Venezuelan government, led by interim President Juan Guaidó, has legal authority over the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C.,” the spokesperson said told the news broadcaster, adding that, “We encourage the remaining unauthorized individuals to vacate the building and to conduct any future protest peacefully and through legal means.”
This week, a group of demonstrators, many of whom are born in Venezuela and are against the socialist regime, gathered in front of the embassy, demanding that the Code Pink activists leave.
“Those people right there, they’re not Venezuelan. They don’t have a passport. They don’t have our IDs,” Clemente Pinate, 32, told Fox News. Pinate said he was from Venezuela and came to the United States when he was 12.
Another pro-Guaidó demonstrator said, “We’re here today to denounce the trespassing of Code Pink. This is a property of the people of Venezuela. It’s an asset of the nation, and the nation is now facing a transition—a transition to democracy.”
The socialist South American country has spiraled into humanitarian, economic, and political chaos after Maduro refused to step down under mounting international pressure. In mid-January, Venezuela’s duly elected National Assembly declared Maduro’s presidency illegitimate due to a fraudulent election and instead swore in Juan Guaidó as the interim president. But Maduro has refused to give up control.
The State Department had previously demanded all Venezuelan diplomats representing the Maduro regime in the United States to return to Venezuela.
Guaidó, who is recognized by more than 50 nations as Venezuela’s legitimate president, launched a “final phase” plan on April 30 to oust the socialist dictator and bring freedom to the country. The interim president gathered a small contingent of heavily armed troops and called for Venezuelans and the military to rise up—a move that is supported by the United States.
Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela but didn’t follow through after Russia coaxed him into staying, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Videos of incidents outside the embassy have also been circulating on social media.
In one video, a Code Pink activist allegedly pushed two pro-Guaidó demonstrators—one who was visibly pregnant—causing the police to arrest him.
— Mariana Umaña (@itsmarianaus) May 4, 2019
#NOW outside of embassy: a Code Pink member is arrested for ATTACKING A PREGNANT OPPOSITION PROTESTER. And you claim to be peaceful, this is what Maduro supporters look like. Shame on YOU! #OperationLibertyDC #venezuela #OperaciónLibertad pic.twitter.com/B4uAUtT76d
— Ask a Venezuelan (@askavenezuelan) May 3, 2019
In another video, a man who appeared pro-Guaidó tried to reason with a woman, who appeared pro-Maduro.
Indicative of the kind of discussions happening outside the Venezuelan embassy right now. pic.twitter.com/LhNGDhkiBa
— Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox) May 2, 2019
Se prendio 🔥 https://t.co/JX5DxInDi9
— Nellie Belén Izarza 🌹 🇻🇪🇺🇸 (@myteks) May 4, 2019
Code Pink has been criticized by prominent commentators and former government officials for supporting the socialist Maduro regime.
@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, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, wrote on Twitter.
.@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
“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…,” tweeted Eric Farnsworth, the vice president of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society in Washington.
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
Meanwhile, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) wrote a letter to Pompeo asking him to remove the Code Pink activists from the embassy.
“The U.S. must remain strong in its support of the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government led by interim president
@jguaido. I’ve asked @SecPompeo to remove the illegal occupants from the radical group @codepink from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington,” he wrote.
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
Despite the calls for them to vacate, Code Pink has refused to leave. When Gustavo Tarre Briceño, a Guaidó appointed representative, arrived at the building on May 3, he was called a “puppet of the U.S. government” by Code Pink activists.
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
According to Capital Research Center, a think tank that probes into how foundations, charities, and other nonprofits spend money and get involved in politics and advocacy, Code Pink is comprised of “serious and very radical political activists.”
“They subscribe in varying degrees to strands of Marxist, neo-Marxist, and progressive left-wing thought, and their ideas belong to a long and complex history of radical politics going back to the early Bolsheviks,” John J. Tierney wrote in a 2006 article about the group.