"Difficult Moment": All US Diplomats Leave Venezuela, Says Mike Pompeo

Sergio Conner
March 15, 2019

This Sept. 12, 2008 photo shows the USA embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, 35, is seeking to capitalise on public anger over the blackout, which has piled misery on a population suffering years of economic crisis and shortages of food and medicine under Maduro. The Venezuelan government disputed Pompeo's account, saying it had instructed the US diplomats to leave.

However, the Venezuelan government had described the remaining American diplomats as a threat to the country's peace and stability.

Ordinary people in Venezuela are bearing the brunt of the ongoing power struggle in the country and last week's blackout.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said power had been restored in the "vast majority" of the country.

Venezuela's power grid troubles continue, and now, according to videos appearing on social media, citizens in one state of the poverty ravaged country are experiencing new troubles: tap water contaminated with what looks like crude oil.

Some neighbourhoods in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, where massive looting occurred during the outages, still didn't have power. USA officials and Guaido said the allegation is absurd and that government corruption and mismanagement caused the infrastructure collapse in a country already suffering hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods.

Pompeo tweeted earlier this week that the diplomats would be withdrawn because they had become a "constraint" on U.S. policy. He did not clarify what he meant by that remark.

He gave no details
He gave no details

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced that all remaining US diplomats have left Venezuela "for the time being", as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

China on Wednesday offered to help Venezuela as it faces a crippling multi-day power blackout that President Nicolas Maduro has blamed on the United States.

The US has already imposed sanctions created to choke off Venezuelan oil sales, the lifeblood of the leftist government in Caracas. Russian Federation is an ally of Maduro, but its oil interests in Venezuela have been jeopardized since the Trump administration hit PDVSA with sanctions in January.

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino revealed the government has revoked hundred of visas from "Maduro-aligned" Venezuelans over the last four days.

USA citizens now in Venezuela should consider leaving the country amid the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the South American nation, Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said.

"Since this Monday. we have revoked 340 visas, 107 of which include visas of Maduro's former diplomats and their families", Palladino told reporters.

Since January, the US, Canada and several European countries have called on Maduro to step down.

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