Americans Siding With Maduro Confront Venezuelan Guaidó Supporters At D.C. Embassy | WGLT

Americans Siding With Maduro Confront Venezuelan Guaidó Supporters At D.C. Embassy

May 2, 2019
Originally published on May 2, 2019 11:36 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Venezuela has been in chaos this week after opposition leader Juan Guaido urged followers to take to the streets in a show of force. The Trump administration welcomed the move. It didn't work, though. Nicolas Maduro is still president. But the ripple effects extend all the way to Washington, D.C., and right outside the empty Venezuelan Embassy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #1: Hands off.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #2: Venezuela.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #1: Hands off.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #2: Venezuela.

CHANG: NPR's Brakkton Booker explains what's going on.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: The scene outside the Venezuelan Embassy was chaotic. On one side, left-wing activists siding with Maduro shouting at counterprotesters. On the other, supporters of Guaido. Medea Benjamin leads the left-wing activist group CODEPINK.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We are here to say stop, negotiate peaceful solutions, not civil war, not coups, not U.S. intervention.

BOOKER: Her group has no connection to Venezuela and is known for agitating in high-profile settings. Members of the Maduro government left the embassy in March, and CODEPINK says they were invited by the Maduro government to stay there and protect the embassy.

BENJAMIN: But as of yesterday, this very angry, vicious group of Guaido supporters came here and are blocking every entrance.

BOOKER: The United States is among many nations that say, not Maduro, but Juan Guaido is Venezuela's legitimate leader.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER #3: Juan Guaido president, Juan Guaido president.

BOOKER: Outside the embassy, Anibal Yamin says he supports the Guaido government. He adds he's got family in Venezuela who've been hurt in the uprisings there.

ANIBAL YAMIN: This has got to go - these people we see here, all the trespassers that are not even Venezuelans.

BOOKER: Twenty-eight-year-old Anly Renda is Venezuelan. She also supports Guaido.

ANLY RENDA: I don't understand how they say that they don't like the U.S. intervening in Venezuela, but they're intervening in our embassy.

BOOKER: CODEPINK says they're going to stay in the embassy for the long haul, even though it's ultimately the responsibility of the U.S. government to keep the embassy safe. Brakkton Booker, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.