Pompeo says all USA diplomats have left Venezuela as crisis deepens

Venezuela's Latest Nightmare: Crude Oil In The Tap Water

Pompeo explained the presence of diplomats in Venezuela at this time has put constraints on USA policy. He said they would continue to carry on their "mission from other locations, where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people". "I know it is a hard moment for them", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday.

"Today, all USA diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country".

The giant USA flag was lowered at the sprawling hillside embassy shortly before the roughly 20 diplomatic personnel left for the airport Thursday morning.

"The United States government, at all levels, remains firm in its resolve and support for the people of Venezuela and interim President Juan Guaidó", Pompeo said in a statement.

The move has put Venezuela at the heart of a geopolitical tussle, with the United States leading most Western nations in recognizing Guaido as the legitimate head of state, while Russia, China and others support Maduro.

The United States is one of about 50 countries that have thrown their support behind opposition leader Guaido, who has announced himself "interim president" after last year's disputed election.

The country began returning to normal on Thursday following a near-total weeklong blackout that the government has blamed on what it calls sabotage encouraged by the US.

The US has already imposed sanctions created to choke off Venezuelan oil sales, the lifeblood of the leftist government in Caracas.

"I congratulate him for the work he did", Maduro said in a speech Tuesday night.

Guaido denied the allegations at an anti-Maduro protest Tuesday. 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.

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

Maduro's government in January cut ties with the US over its recognition of Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader, a stand taken by about 50 other countries that contend Maduro's re-election previous year was rigged and that he has no legitimacy. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the last remaining American diplomats have left the country.

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