Kevin Bruce Zeese, Margaret Ann Flowers, Pino Adrienne and David Vernon Paul, four of the invaders who illegally occupied the headquarters of the Embassy of the Republic of Venezuela in Washington DC for several weeks in 2019, were convicted by a court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to the charges.
The four subjects, who acted under the patronage of outgoing officials of Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship in DC, occupied the embassy for several weeks in the spring of 2019 and obstructed the entrance to the diplomatic headquarters by officials of the legitimate government of Interim President Juan Guaidó, when they were recognized by the United States. Those convicted today remained inside the embassy building even after federal agents asked them to leave, leading to their arrest.
Chief Justice Beryl A. Howell, of the United States District Court, considered that Zeese, Flowers, Adrienne and Vernon Paul acted with privileges and rights, and in view of the damage caused to the embassy and the trauma of those involved in the event, sentenced them to remain at least 100 feet away from the embassy building, have no contact with any representative of the Venezuelan government recognized by the United States, pay a fine of $750 and be on probation for 6 months with a risk of imprisonment if they violate any of the terms listed and other legal implications. Additionally, a fine for special assessments will be determined under the DC Violation Code rather than the Federal Code.
Written testimony from Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, as well as from members of the diaspora who for security reasons prefer to remain anonymous, were key to the conviction.
“The conduct carried out by the members of the invading group affected and totally and absolutely prevented the normal functioning of the Venezuelan consular services in this city. (…) this situation had a negative impact on all Venezuelans in the United States, especially those who required urgent consular services (…) The illegal actions of this group caused serious damage to Venezuelan public property. In fact, to this day, the facilities have not been recovered due to the serious damages caused by this group and the difficulty it has meant to recover them due to the high costs this entails for a country currently facing a complex humanitarian emergency,” Vecchio said in his allegations.
Ambassador Vecchio thanked the Venezuelan diaspora organized in Washington D.C., which courageously and with a deep sense of patriotism defended the diplomatic headquarters for weeks, preventing the invaders from growing in number, that they could enter more provisions and, consequently, stay longer inside the diplomatic headquarters.
The official of the legitimate government of President Guaidó also reiterated his gratitude to the State Department and other authorities of the United States, which enforced the national and international legislation, especially the Vienna Convention, and managed the eviction of the invaders from the diplomatic headquarters.
For Vecchio, this condemnation against four of the occupants is a new defeat for Nicolás Maduro’s regime and his international representative Jorge Arreaza, who use internationally paid opportunistic groups to generate anarchy, insecurity and destabilization in the United States and the region.
“We will continue to defend the assets of the Venezuelan people against the pretensions of the corrupt and criminal dictatorship of Maduro and his international mafia,” the diplomat concluded.