Askia MuhammadColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Venezuela Embassy — Mob Rule, Martial Law

Forget about the “constitutional crisis” on Capitol Hill. At the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, the U.S. Secret Service, the Trump State Department, with the complicity of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, has already begun the installation of not only an illegal government in Venezuela, but also the “presidency for life” of one Donald J. Trump.

For more than a month, Venezuelan thugs, supporting the illegitimate presidency of opposition leader Juan Guiadó — who received not one single vote in the country’s recent election, but is recognized by the Trump regime — laid siege to a brave group of activists, who entered and occupied the building with the permission of the legitimate government of President Nicolás Maduro.

The peace activists were given permission to stay inside by the United Nations-recognized Maduro government so that the opposition elements would not seize the embassy, which, according to international law, is the sovereign property of Venezuela.

The thugs — probably paid by some right-wing “think tank” — blocked access to the building so that the so-called Embassy Protection Coalition and its supporters could not get food or medicine into the building.

The coalition is led by CODEPINK Women for Peace and includes supporters from the ANSWER Coalition, Veterans for Peace and others.

The U.S. coerced Pepco to cut the building’s electricity even though the bill was paid, and they got the water authority to cut off water, which gravely endangers health conditions for drinking and washing.

I went to the location myself and witnessed a man carrying a pouch of food get wrestled and beaten by the hooligans while the cops looked on and did nothing, after they had promised the coalition supporters that they would be permitted to take the food to them. Earlier in the siege, after the opposition forces locked and blocked the entrance, the coalition managed to get food inside by way of pulleys to an upper-floor window.

International law requires host countries to defend and protect the sovereignty of diplomatic property, which officially are considered the “territory” of the foreign country.

The U.S. has been champing at the bit for regime change in Venezuela for decades because the country possesses the world’s largest known oil reserves.

The Trump administration pressured its allies to go along with its regime change scheme using a familiar tactic. They imposed sanctions on the country and all its leaders. They took over the state-owned CITGO Oil Co., which under former President Hugo Chavez gave free and reduced price winter heating oil relief to poor inner-city residents. Then, they refused to pay Venezuela for oil the U.S. had already purchased. They coaxed the British to impound billions of dollars worth of Venezuelan gold on deposit.

With little or no oil revenue coming in, and with hardly any money in government coffers, the country has been unable to purchase food and other imports, creating a desperate situation for the innocent population, confusion, chaos and resentment.

Then, the right-wing elites inside the country and their right-wing allies in the U.S. and some of its banana republic neighbors point at the deteriorating living conditions and say: “Your suffering continues because your leaders have failed you.” That same script has been used in country after country targeted for regime change by the U.S.

Recently, the overconfident Guaidó forces tried to foment an uprising, hoping that members of the Venezuelan military would defect and overthrow their chain of command. A few low-ranking soldiers and one Venezuelan general defected, but their uprising failed and they hastened to Plan B — taking over the country’s diplomatic properties, including military offices in Washington.

This is the very same tactic that led to the bloody and disastrous war in Iraq, another country with huge oil reserves the U.S. wants. The result of that debacle was thousands of needless U.S. military deaths and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

If the U.S. can secure the Venezuelan oil reserves, especially without having to commit its military personnel to the effort, then it will be on to the Big Prize, Iran, another country with huge oil reserves with which the Trump regime does want a war, in order to destroy the Islamic Republic.

With the Venezuelan oil in the U.S. “bank,” the disruption of the Iranian oil supply would not wreak havoc on the world economy. It’s a textbook scenario.

After all these weeks of torment, the State Department and Secret Service have issued evacuation orders to the embassy protectors. Those remaining inside are now subject to arrest. Well, if this country could have “legally” evicted the protectors all along, why punish the brave anti-war activists with starvation and worse?

Article 22 of the Vienna Convention protects embassies around the world and those at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, but for a lawless president who’s shamelessly told 10,000 lies since taking office, who’s defied dozens of Congressional subpoenas, claiming they have no jurisdiction over him, and who’s promised not to leave office, even if he’s defeated in the 2020 election, international laws are just some more worthless papers that mean nothing to him.

He’s ruling by martial law. Only no one in authority is ready to admit it — yet.

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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