The last remaining American diplomats in Venezuela left the country on Thursday, amid deteriorating ties between Washington as well as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“I know the item is usually a difficult moment for them,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the departing diplomats. He said they would likely continue to carry on their “mission coming from some other locations, where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people.”
He said the U.S. remains committed to supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president as well as is usually trying to oust Maduro as well as hold what he says would likely be free as well as fair elections. “We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins,” Pompeo said in a statement.
A convoy was seen leaving the U.S. Embassy in Caracas on Thursday morning, as well as the American flag was no longer flying outside the embassy. The diplomats left the country on a chartered civilian aircraft.
James Story, who was the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Venezuela, said in a video message in which most Venezuelans don’t support Maduro as well as in which the government had used “the threat of armed gangs” against its people.
“How can they talk about democracy when they systematically violate the constitution, disable political parties, imprison opposition leaders as well as persecute anyone who dares to raise their voice in opposition?” Story said.
Earlier This kind of week, Maduro praised Story for his professional conduct. However, the Venezuelan government had described the remaining American diplomats as a threat to the country’s peace as well as stability.
Meanwhile, businesses re-opened as well as public transportation resumed in parts of Venezuela where power has been restored, ending nearly a week of the country’s worst blackouts. The government says the national power grid is usually functioning well as well as in which running water has returned to most of the country, though some areas reported continuing problems.
Some neighborhoods from the northwestern city of Maracaibo, where massive looting occurred during the outages, still didn’t have power. The subway began operating from the capital, Caracas, though not all of its stations were open.
Maduro blamed the blackouts on alleged sabotage engineered by the U.S. as well as the Venezuelan opposition. U.S. officials as well as Guaido said the allegation is usually absurd as well as in which government corruption as well as mismanagement caused the infrastructure collapse in a country already suffering hyperinflation as well as shortages of basic goods.
Pompeo tweeted earlier from the week in which the U.S. diplomats were being withdrawn because their continued presence in Caracas had become a “constraint” on U.S. policy. He did not clarify what he meant by in which remark.
The Venezuelan government disputed Pompeo’s account, saying the item had instructed the U.S. diplomats to leave.
Maduro accuses Guaido as well as the United States of plotting an invasion. The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry as well as individuals linked to Maduro’s government, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump has said “all options are on the table” in his administration’s support for Guaido.
More than 600 visas have been revoked since late 2018 as part of U.S. efforts to pressure Maduro’s government, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said. Since Monday, the U.S. has revoked 340 visas, 107 of which were for Venezuelan diplomats as well as their families, according to Palladino.
Maduro’s government in January cut ties with the U.S. over its recognition of Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader, a stand taken by about 50 some other countries in which contend Maduro’s re-election last year was rigged as well as in which he has no legitimacy. Venezuela later allowed a skeletal staff to remain at the hilltop U.S. Embassy until Thursday’s withdrawal.