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    Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.N., Samuel Moncada (left), and Tigh Barry (right) from Code Pink held a press conference regarding the embassy situation in Washington DC. | Photo: Venezuela's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Published 15 May 2019

The Venezuelan official reminded that according to Art. 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “the premises of the mission shall be inviolable.”

Ambassador of Venezuela to the United Nations (U.N.), Samuel Moncada, denounced on Wednesday the continuing violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention by the United States government, regarding the ongoing illegal siege to its Embassy in Washington D.C.

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"This a massive violation not just of Venezuelan rights, but of the rights of all diplomats around the world, with respect to their physical, and I would say, moral integrity," Moncada told reporters at a press conference given from U.N headquarters in New York. 

The Venezuelan official reminded that according to Art. 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “the premises of the mission shall be inviolable.” The article ensures that the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission and is under a special duty to protect the diplomatic mission against any intrusion or damage. 

Even during a break in diplomatic relations and supported by Art. 45, the receiving nation, in this case, the U.S., must continue respecting foreign properties. "This type of situation should be resolved by appointing a third party state with protecting powers to maintain the sovereignty of the diplomatic headquarters," Moncada added. 

As is the case of the Venezuelan government who has respected the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, and under international law allowed the Swiss government — appointed by the U.S. — to take care of the premises. However, there has not been any reciprocity by the U.S. as they deny to allow a third party state, appointed by Venezuela, to take care of their embassy in Washington. 

"What happens at the Embassy in Washington is a portrait of what is happening in Venezuela: supremacist insults, blockages of food and medicine, threats of the use of force, electricity and water cuts to achieve a surrender."
 

The Venezuelan representative in the U.N. also pointed out that even if Juan Guaido’s people were to illegally take over the Embassy, they would be powerless lacking the authority to issue passports or any consular services, as “they have zero power in Venezuela, something the world saw during the failed coup on April 30.”

While, Tighe Barry from the Embassy Protection Collective, who joined Moncada in the press event, stressed, “The charter of the United Nations is being violated every single day, that the government of the United States tries to recognize someone else to take control in the embassy." 

The activist explained that the reason for them to barricade inside the Embassy is due to the current attacks by the Venezuelan opposition, which he referred to as “hooligans,” who violently attacked the peaceful group. The Embassy Protection Collective was invited by the Venezuelan government to enter the building as caretakers while diplomatic due process is coordinated. 

However, on May 13 Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C arrived at the Venezuelan embassy to break the locks trying to carry out the illegal eviction of international NGO Code Pink who have barricaded themselves in the embassy. At the moment, four members of the collective are still inside but the U.S. government has cut off electricity and water supply to the building. 

“We will stay inside the embassy..as we strongly believe in the rights of Venezuela, and believe in U.S. citizen’s rights to the first amendment of freedom of expression,” Barry added. 


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