U.S. pulls all remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 3/12/19, 11:15 am
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced late Monday that the United States will withdraw its remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela, as the country’s power outage continues amidst deepening political unrest. The decision “reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy,” the statement from the State Department said. The diplomats will leave by the end of the week, according to Pompeo.
The United States withdrew most of its diplomatic staff in January and backed Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who is serving as interim president since invoking a clause in the Venezuelan Constitution. The country experienced a power outage on Thursday that heightened the political unrest. The blackout, which resulted from a suspected failure at a major power grid, halted oil exports from the cash-strapped country already battling food and medicine shortages.
In a televised nationwide address Monday night, embattled President Nicolás Maduro accused the United States of working with the opposition to stage the blackout. “They came with a strategy of war of the kind that only these criminals—who have been to war and have destroyed the people of Iraq, of Libya, of Afghanistan, and of Syria—think up,” he said.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.