“This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela…”
As Venezuela continues to deteriorate, the State Department decided to withdraw the remaining diplomats, staff, and their families from the US Embassy in the country. From The Wall Street Journal:
Critical health services, food supplies and businesses have been crippled by the blackout that has killed at least 15 people and continues across the country despite efforts to restore power.
The outages have escalated the standoff between the U.S. and Venezuela’s embattled leader, Nicolás Maduro, who has accused Washington of playing a role in the chaos. The U.S. has denied involvement in the blackout and said the blame lies with the government for neglecting the energy system.
“This 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,” Mr. Pompeo said in a statement.
The withdrawal of remaining staff and their families follows the decision in January to pull all nonessential personnel from the embassy after Mr. Maduro cut diplomatic relations with Washington and ordered U.S. diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. It wasn’t immediately clear when the remaining embassy personnel would leave.
Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets on Saturday to protest Mr. Maduro, who is facing the biggest challenge yet to his hold on power with the backing of the military’s leadership.
The U.S. has helped mobilize support for the country’s opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries as the legitimate president until a new election is called.
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