[Pnews] Mistrial Is Another Blow To US Coup In Venezuela; Our Work Continues

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 17 11:29:23 EST 2020


  Mistrial Is Another Blow To US Coup In Venezuela; Our Work Continues

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance - February 16, 2020

Last week, we along with Adrienne Pine and David Paul were 
unsuccessfully prosecuted by the Trump administration for our protection 
of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC from April 10 to May 16, 
2019.  The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision and so we 
remain innocent of the charge of interfering with the protective 
functions of the US Department of State. The judge declared a mistrial 
It was a partial victory and we greatly appreciate the jurors who were 
able to see through the cloud of misinformation in the courtroom and 
vote to acquit us.

The day our trial started, Juan Guaido returned to Venezuela where he 
was harassed and physically assaulted by protesters. He is unable to 
muster support at home even from the opposition. Guaido’s presidential 
charade is fading but the United States has not given up on its regime 
change campaign in Venezuela. New sanctions are being imposed and there 
have been recent attacks of sabotage within the country that resemble 
ones backed by the US in other countries to cause disruption and 
discord. As Citizens of Empire, we must continue to oppose US 
intervention in other countries.

    *Note: The Trump prosecutors will announce on February 28 whether
    they will prosecute us again. The Embassy Protection Defense
    Committee, our lawyers and the four of us are preparing for a second
    Please check DefendEmbassyProtectors.org
    <http://defendembassyprotectors.org/> for updates and what you can
    do to help prepare our defense.*


Embassy protectors [left to right: David Paul, Margaret Flowers, 
Adrienne Pine, Kevin Zeese] outside of court on February 13, 2020, by 
Martha Allen.

*Confusion In The Courtroom Where Lies Were Told And The Truth Could Not 
Be Heard*

After the trial, half the jury stayed behind to answer questions from 
the lawyers and the judge. What stood out in their answers was 
confusion. The information they heard in court was incomplete, which 
made it difficult to understand what happened. A major source of 
confusion was that the testimony in the trial was limited to three days 
from May 13 when a trespass notice was delivered to May 16 when the 
arrests occurred. The jurors were not allowed to be told about the full 
37 days we were in the embassy when at times more than 70 people stayed 
there. They asked — why were you there for those three days? Why did you 
go there in May when the new president, Juan Guaido, came to power in 
January? The prosecutor’s successful manipulation of Judge Howell to 
limit the testimony to those three days created juror confusion as the 
story did not make sense.

Of course, Juan Guaido never came to power. He has not been president 
for even a nanosecond. When this so-called ‘president’ returned to 
after a US-sponsored tour of Europe, the customs officer took his 
passpor <https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/1227368952038293504>t 
<https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/1227368952038293504> and 
explained he had violated the law by leaving the country. No real 
president could have a customs officer take his passport.

Guaido was not welcomed 
<https://twitter.com/MV_Eng/status/1228375725633425409> when he 
walkedthrough the airport 
<https://twitter.com/dcgisenyi/status/1227355017222463490> and out into 
the streets. He was surrounded by protesters calling him a traitor 
and an assassin 
<https://twitter.com/madeleintlSUR/status/1227350906955583492> and 
chasing him away from the airport 
<https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/1227628583717347328>.  They 
were angry in part because during his trip Guaido called for more 
sanctions, which have shortened the lives of over 40,000 Venezuelans 
and in the past, he even called for a US military attack on his country. 
It is obvious he is hated by the people of Venezuela as even the 
opposition did not support his re-appointment as president of the 
National Assembly 
Not only is he not the president, but he also is not even the leader of 
the political opposition to President Maduro.

In the courtroom, due to an anomaly of US law, the jury was told that 
Juan Guaido was the president. While many have criticized Judge Beryl 
Howell for that ruling, in reality, she was reflecting US law, which 
says the president determines whom the US recognizes as the leader of a 
foreign government. This is a political question that the courts cannot 
overturn. Judge Howell sought to keep politics out of the courtroom, but 
it was not possible. Taking judicial notice that Guaido is ‘president’ 
when in the real world he is not made this a political case based on 

The judge explained that “elections have consequences” as they grant 
this and other powers to the president. Judge Howell’s comment was 
ironic for Venezuelans because they also have elections as they did in 
May of 2018 where PresidentMaduro won 67 percent 
in a five-candidate field. That election had more than 300 international 
election observers who concluded it met all the requirements for 
democratic elections under international law 
Kevin Zeese was in Venezuela for it and reported it was a well-run 
election far superior to many US elections 
– especially the Iowa Caucus!

In part because of the limits placed on what we could say in court, none 
of the embassy protectors testified. The judge’s pre-trial ruling meant 
we could not tell the whole truth 
and made it difficult to testify without being held in contempt of 
court, a situation that Alan Macleod described as “Kafkaesque 
Our lawyers, Michael Satin, John Zwerling, Bill Welch, and Heather 
Shaner, built our defense on their excellent cross-examination of the 
three government witnesses.  After the government presented its case, 
the defense rested without calling any witnesses.

While we hope the prosecutors will not prosecute us again becausewe are 
innocent <https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14782> of the charges 
against us, we are preparing for a second prosecution. 
<https://defendembassyprotectors.org/trial-of-the-four-embassy-protectors-ends-with-a-deadlocked-jury/> It 
was a victory to have a hung jury in such a manipulated environment but 
we are not yet free. We hope the Trump administration sees that 
prosecuting us again will be viewed by the world as further proof of US 
injustice. Another prosecution raises the stakes for the US as an 
acquittal or second failed prosecution will be further evidence of the 
failed coup. As we have always hoped, our goal is for the US and 
Venezuela to develop positive relations that are based on mutual respect 
for sovereignty and international law.


Two placards placed outside the Venezuelan embassy by the Embassy 
Protectors Collective. From Popular Resistance.

*Venezuela Continues to Resist US Regime Change*

The US charade claiming Guaido is the president and the judge refusing 
to challenge that fiction has dangerous and deadly consequences. The 
United States violated international laws when it invaded the Venezuelan 
Embassy in Washington, DC and handed it over to the leaders of a failed 
coup. The US signaled to other countries that centuries of practices 
that uphold the inviolability of embassies no longer matter. It also 
signaled that elections don’t matter. The US believes it can decide who 
is the leader of another country and hand over the assets of that 
country to whomever it chooses.

The Venezuelan National Assembly is currently investigating 
Juan Guaido, particularly his backing by the United States and the theft 
of Venezuela’s assets. Guaido has already been restricted from traveling 
out of Venezuela for taking money from foreign countries, a restriction 
he has defied multiple times. Guaido also violated the Venezuelan 
Constitution by claiming to be the president, a power that only exists 
when the elected president and vice president are unable to serve. In 
the case where the president of the national assembly is required to 
step in as president, there must be an election for a new president 
within thirty days.

Guaido is being accused of receiving financial support from Alejandro 
Betancourt, who is being prosecuted in the United States for laundering 
billions of dollars. Betancourt is the cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the 
head of the right-wing Popular Will Party. Lopez was convicted of 
inciting violence and escaped last year to seek asylum in the Spanish 
Embassy. It was recently discovered 
that Rudy Giuliani met with Guaido’s father and others in Spain and then 
met with the US Department of Justice to request leniency for Betancourt.

Guaido is also implicated in a case being brought by Venezuela 
against the United States for “the theft of [Venezuela’s] foreign assets 
and bank deposits… The looting equals up to US$116 billion.”​​​​​​​ 
Venezuela recently filed a case 
in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The day 
may come when the United States is held accountable and is no longer 
allowed to act with impunity.

A major goal of the action to protect the Venezuelan Embassy in 
Washington, DC was to raise awareness that the US was escalating its 
lawless actions. Interference in the elections of another country, 
threats of military invasion and the imposition of coercive economic 
measures (aka sanctions) are violations of the United Nations Charter. 
Failing to protect embassies violates the Vienna Convention. The Embassy 
Protection Collective 
composed of hundreds of activists for peace and justice, did prevent the 
embassy in Washington, DC from being given to the coup-supporters. It is 
empty today.

The action in the embassy was also an act of solidarity with the people 
of Venezuela struggling for self-determination and a new society that 
puts people’s needs and protection of the planet above corporate 
profits. We have so much to learn from Venezuela about democracy, ending 
poverty and creating a world for everyone.

As Citizens of Empire, our work is not over. We must continue to oppose 
sanctions and US intervention in other countries. The San Francisco 
Labor Council recently passed a resolution 
opposing sanctions. You can do the same in your community. Urge your 
local groups, city or county council or other institutions to do the 
same. And listed below are a few more ways to get involved in the 
struggle for peace.

          *Register Now For The United National Antiwar Conference,
          “Rise Against Militarism, Racism And The Climate Crisis
          In New York City From February 21 To 23.*

          *Take Action: Join The International Days Of Action Against
          Sanctions And Economic War <https://sanctionskill.org/>, March
          13 – 15, 2020*

          Upcoming: The World Peace Council And The Coalition Against
          U.S. Foreign Military Bases, International Conference,
          “/Confronting Imperialism’s War Machine — The Global Struggle
          For Peace, Social Justice, National Sovereignty And The
          Environment/,” On March 28-29, 2020, In Larnaca, Cyprus.
          Register Here

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863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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