Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo

All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo

"Today, all USA diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country", he said in a statement, adding that it is "a hard moment for them". He said staffers look forward to resuming their presence in Venezuela "once the transition to democracy begins".

All United States diplomats remaining in Venezuela left the country on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid a political crisis over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the last remaining American diplomats have left the country.

A general view of the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela March 14, 2019. The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry as well as individuals linked to Maduro's government, and U.S. President Donald Trump has said "all options are on the table" in his administration's support for Guaido.

A convoy was seen leaving the United States embassy in Caracas on Thursday morning and the American flag was no longer flying outside. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters that the USA has revoked more than 600 visas from Venezuelans since late a year ago. Since Monday, the USA has revoked 340 visas, 107 of which were for Venezuelan diplomats and their families, according to Palladino. Palladino urged any US citizens left in Venezuela to leave. "It's the Maduro regime which has prevented that", he said.

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

While most Venezuelans aren't suffering from such clearly contaminated water, nearly all Venezuelans are struggling to live without power, as the electrical grid system failure drags on into its second week.

The Venezuelan government said on Tuesday that some electricity has returned in some areas, Associated Press reports. But he was remarkably complimentary of the charge d'affaires, James "Jimmy" Story, whom he described as professional, though he said they had not met.

The US-backed "interim president" of Venezuela Juan Guaido isn't violating the 30-day constitutional limit because the legislature backing him voted to make it not apply, "explained" the US special envoy Elliott Abrams.

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