Colorado Republican Rep. Scott Tipton sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday requesting that members of radical activist group Code Pink be removed from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., which they have apparently occupied for the last several weeks.
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
I've asked @SecPompeo to remove the illegal occupants from the radical group @codepink from the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. pic.twitter.com/oNh9OOfRgY
The letter reads in part:
“The United States must remain strong in its support of the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government of interim President Juan Guaidó. I want to thank you for your leadership during this critical time. I am concerned that the Venezuelan people and the government of interim President Guaidó are being prevented from entering their embassy in Washington, DC. As you are aware, the embassy is currently being illegally occupied by a small group of radical pro-Maduro Code Pink activists. It is an injustice to the Venezuelan people that they are unable to enter their embassy because this group of American extremists is preventing their access.Just this week, Ambassador Carlos Vecchio spoke in front of the embassy to supporters but was unable to enter despite being recognized by the United States as the legitimate Ambassador from Venezuela…
…I respectfully urge that the Venezuelan Embassy be returned to the Venezuelan people and the legitimate government of Venezuela led by interim President Juan Guaidó as soon as possible, and that those who have been illegally occupying the embassy face the full consequences of their actions under the law.”
Tipton asserts that leftist group Code Pink is a longtime supporter of Venezuela’s socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro, and that their activists have refused to leave the embassy despite U.S. envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams recently declaring their presence illegal.
Tipton also expressed concern that allowing Code Pink to remain in the Venezuelan embassy set a precedent that other nations with a diplomatic presence in the nation’s capital would find hard to ignore.
The letter comes on the heels of the Thursday arrest of three pro-Juan Guaidó (Venezuela’s opposition leader) activists who had spent a day trying to secure the entrances and exits of the embassy because they say they were concerned more American citizens — presumably like Code Pink — were going to enter and occupy the building.
"The pro-Guaidó demonstrators had spent the day grappling to assert control over the embassy’s entrances and exits, prompting activists from Code Pink — who support Maduro and have been living in the embassy for weeks — to issue a call for food and supplies. Code Pink organizers said group members have not been able to pass Venezuelan supporters of Guaidó to deliver provisions to people in the building.
"But demonstrators outside said they were not preventing anyone from eating or accessing medicine — they just didn’t want more American citizens to enter and occupy the building."
The standoff at the embassy is part of the larger debate surrounding the turmoil in Venezuela related to Maduro’s failed socialist regime and interim President Guaidó who seeks his ouster, and what role the U.S. should be playing in that nation’s crisis.
Sarah Lee is a freelance writer and policy wonk living and working in Washington, D.C.