A victory for pro-Venezuela activists

A group of determined American activists forced Juan Guaidó’s shadow ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, to flee from a rally that was supposed to mark his triumphant entry into the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. It was supposed to be a day of triumph for the Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó and his forces in Washington.

In Caracas the opposition had launched “Operation Liberty,” a coup attempt that promised to flip high-level figures in the military and Maduro’s inner circle and deliver the presidential palace to Guaidó. And in Washington, the self-declared ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, was poised to take control of Venezuela’s embassy.

But by the end of the May Day holiday, Guaidó’s plot had been resoundingly defeated, while Vecchio was seen fleeing the embassy after his speech, before fifty or so fanatical right-wing supporters were overwhelmed by a group of anti-coup protesters, both inside and outside the embassy.

It was a humiliating defeat for a US-backed opposition that has not achieved a single concrete victory since launching its coup attempt more than two-and-a-half months ago.

For over a week a group of American citizens calling themselves the Embassy Protection Collective have stymied the opposition’s plan to seize the embassy, denying its leadership the veneer of legitimacy that it has been desperately seeking. Members of the collective moved into the embassy at the invitation of its official owners in the Venezuelan government, and have maintained a round-the-clock presence to prevent a mob of opposition activists from occupying the grounds.

On 30 April the pro-coup mob outside turned violent, physically assaulting embassy protectors and hurling racist, sexist and homophobic abuse at others.

The US Secret Service, which has the duty of protecting foreign embassies, has done nothing so far to prevent or punish criminal acts that violate Washington’s civil code and article 22 of the Vienna Conventions on the protection of diplomatic facilities.