Late last month, the Venezuelan embassy was taken over by the American anti-war group CODEPINK and a collective of like-minded activists. Their goal? To stop the diplomatic staff of opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his appointed diplomatic staff from taking up posts in the building while embattled socialist president President Nicholas Maduro is still in office.
The activist group occupying the building opposes American support for Guaidó on the grounds that it's imperialistic and could lead to armed intervention. But Guaidó's supporters are having none of it, and they're now engaged in a prolonged siege to starve them out — and give their fledgling shadow government the D.C. presence it so badly wants.
Venezuelans from all over the D.C. region have been camped out on the embassy grounds, quaintly placed on a quiet street in Georgetown. But over the past week, vuvuzela noisemakers, loud music and strobe lights have all been common place on this block, as the Venezuelans try to pressure and annoy those inside to vacate.
Both groups say they won’t quit until the other side leaves. Last night, the power was shut off inside. But CODEPINK and the activist collective remain steadfast. For now.
The resulting situation is a tangential bizarre outpost of the Venezuelan political crisis: the Americans in the Embassy, who are technically on Venezuelan soil, are now surrounded by Venezuelan opposition supporters on American soil.