This blog was written by AD, a high school intern at SJPJC
On October 11th, the Venezuelan Embassy Defenders toured the Bay Area. These activists heroically defended the embassy when it was under attack by the US government and pro-coup protesters.
The San Jose Peace & Justice Center was instrumental in hosting their presentation. An introduction was done by Jeff Mackler before the talk, the leader of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) San Francisco. UNAC is a coalition of different activist groups that help organize demonstrations and actions against US aggression.
The Embassy Defenders spoke about their protest and their subsequent arrest. They described how they occupied the embassy. Although many protestors initially occupied the embassy, only a few stayed. Once you leave the embassy, it’s illegal to reenter. As they defended the embassy, there were multiple cases of pro-coup protesters, as they defined it, trying to break in. However, these protesters were arrested when police were allowed in for a brief period. Thousands of people showed up on both sides, in support of the occupation as well as against it.
Later on, those occupying the embassy knew something was up. The police were protecting the pro-coup protestors, despite violence and rioting. The police, however, prevented people from giving the embassy occupiers food. Later on, the police entered to arrest the occupiers, but left, as they had no signature for a warrant, making it unlawful to arrest the protestors. When the protestors outside the embassy saw police leave empty-handed, they celebrated. Later on, as the power of the embassy got shut off, the occupiers remembered having to use the power of a car to heat their food. Then 5 different police agencies showed up armed with guns. Entering the embassy, they found the 4 remaining occupiers and arrested them.
The Venezuelan Embassy Defenders are now facing 1 year in prison and $100,000 fine each if they take the plea bargain. This arrest is totally unlawful and a sign of the US government doing what they want in order to arrest anyone who opposes a coup Venezuela without opposition. Please donate to the embassy protection in order to help them pay bail You can find the link below.
I personally think this was a good event, the talk was interesting and the turnout was good. Hopefully the San Jose Peace and Justice Center does more of these types of events. I think that the embassy occupation was a good thing and was a way to help prevent the US empire from expanding. American imperialism is when the US has economic, military, and cultural influence over another country. Imperialism hurts the world and the arrests at the consulate were a solid example of imperialism at work.
Donate here to help out with the legal fees of the Occupiers who have been charged: