(SYRACUSE, NY – February 14, 2020) Howie Hawkins, candidate for the Green Party presidential nomination, applauds today’s outcome in the Trump Administration’s prosecution against protectors of the Venezuelan Embassy. Today, the court declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to come to a unanimous decision to convict the embassy protectors of the charge of “interfering with certain protective functions” of the federal government, two of which are key figures in the Green Party and on the Howie Hawkins campaign.
“I am grateful for the resolve of the jurors who held out and caused today’s hung jury,” said Hawkins. “It shows that the overreach in foreign policy of the Trump Administration is not popular among the American public,” he continued.
The four defendants were arrested after a standoff with the Trump Administration and with District of Columbia police, after self-proclaimed Venezuelan president Juan Guaidó attempted to illegally take control of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. The four were in the embassy at the invitation of the elected Maduro government of Venezuela, and the Trump Administration imposed power and water shut-offs, and prevented humanitarian aid of food and water, in an attempt to dislodge the embassy protectors from the building. The standoff ended on May 16, 2019, after federal agents illegally stormed in a SWAT-style fashion and arrested the unarmed, peaceful embassy protectors.
The judge issued a de-facto gag order on important defense evidence, including denying the defense’s request to include as evidence tweets from Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and Venezuelan Vice Minister for North America Carlos Ron.
One of the defendants, Margaret Flowers, MD., is a national co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. Another defendant is Kevin Zeese, who is the Press Secretary for the Howie Hawkins 2020 campaign, as well as a delegate from Maryland to the National Committee of the Green Party. Both Flowers and Zeese are members of the Maryland Green Party coordinating committee and are former candidates for US Senate in Maryland. All four embassy protectors voted for the Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka ticket in 2016.
“We stand with Greens and other progressives everywhere, who are proud of the actions that Flowers, Zeese and the others, in favor of peace and the self-determination of autonomous nations,” stated Hawkins. “This shows that Greens are willing to do whatever is necessary to stand up for justice.”
The four defendants have been ordered to appear before the court again on February 28 to hear whether the Trump Administration intends to pursue prosecution again.