WASHINGTON – The United States Government ordered on Monday the eviction of activists who support Venezuela’s leftist incumbent Nicolas Maduro and have remained at the country’s embassy in Washington for weeks.
The US made this decision at the request of the Washington envoys of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom Donald Trump’s government recognizes as the legitimate leader of the oil-producing country.
“The United States does not recognize the authority of the former Maduro regime or any of its former representatives, to allow any individuals to lawfully enter, remain on this property, or take any other action with respect to this property,” said the evacuation order, read by agents of the Secret Service, which is in charge of protecting the embassies, in front of the building.
Guaido’s envoys in Washington “have requested and directed anyone who is present on this property to depart from it immediately, and to not return without these ambassadors’ express authorization,” the order added.
“Any person who refuses to comply with these requests and orders to depart from this property will be trespassing in violation of federal and District of Columbia law and may be arrested or criminally prosecuted,” the statement stated.
Although some activists have already left the embassy, at least four remained inside, according to EFE.
In a message broadcast on Twitter, these activists were willing to resist and therefore be arrested by the authorities in response to an evacuation order they described as illegal.
Outside, police and firefighters were preparing to enter the building while several Guaido supporters were celebrating the evacuation order, while insulting activists and bothering them with lights and sirens.
There were also pro-Maduro activists outside the building who support those who remain inside the compound.
Venezuela is facing a political and social crisis that was heightened after Guaido, leader of Parliament, swore in as interim president on Jan. 23 by invoking articles in the Venezuelan Constitution.
The Venezuelan opposition, which refuses to recognize the new six-year term of office Maduro was sworn in for on Jan. 10, considering last year’s May elections illegitimate, says that the country is going through a “complex humanitarian emergency” and has requested help from the international community to deal with it.
The request to the US authorities to clear the embassy was made by Guaido’s envoy in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, and his representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Gustavo Tarre, whom the US recognizes as legitimate.
Tarre told journalists in front of the legation that he and the other envoys of Guaido will enter the building once the US has checked it.
Several US activists entered the Venezuelan embassy in Washington weeks ago after the departure of Maduro’s last diplomats in order to prevent Vecchio and Tarre from taking over the office building.
Guaido’s envoys had previously taken over the Venezuelan consulate in New York and two military attaché offices in Washington, so Maduro’s regime invited the activists into the legation.
Venezuelan supporters of Guaido have remained outside the building, blocking the entry of food and other supplies.
In the last few days, US authorities also cut off electricity and water in the compound.