All US diplomats have left Venezuela: Mike Pompeo

Cheryl Sanders
March 15, 2019

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the last remaining American diplomats have left the country.

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

Venezuela is one of the world's foremost crude oil producers and extractors, but a crumbling infrastructure - the result of years of mismanagement by the country's Socialist government - has made the supply impossible to control.

He gave no details
He gave no details

The last remaining US diplomats in Caracas have left Venezuela "for the time being", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday shortly after they and their Marine guards boarded a flight for the United States.

"I know it is a hard moment for them", he said, referencing the US diplomats.

In his statement, Pompeo praised the diplomats on an emotional day as they abandoned the embassy. He said staffers look forward to resuming their presence in Venezuela "once the transition to democracy begins".

"U.S. diplomats will now continue that mission from other locations where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people and support the democratic actors bravely resisting tyranny", Pompeo said. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters that the USA has revoked more than 600 visas from Venezuelans since late previous year.

Maduro was fiercely critical of national security adviser John Bolton and Elliott Abrams, the USA special envoy for Venezuela.

A general view of the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela March 14, 2019.

"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, the incumbent president who is hanging on to power despite shortages of food, water and electricity, says he is the victim of a coup plot by the United States.

Self-declared president Juan Guaido, who anointed himself leader of Venezuela almost two months ago, promised on Monday to oust Maduro "very soon", blaming him for the blackouts. Meanwhile, Venezuela's attorney general Tarek William Saab announced on Tuesday that he had launched an investigation into opposition leader Juan Guaidó over suspicions that he had been involved in the power blackout.

That could explain why, instead of dispatching crews to fix the problem, France24 reports that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro is dispatching prosecutors to find and charge opposition leader Juan Guaido with sabotaging the country's grid system by causing a major explosion at the Guiado dam.

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