All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo

Elias Hubbard
March 15, 2019

Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales made the comments after meeting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during an official visit in Athens. Bolivia's left-wing president on Thursday compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to an erstwhile colonial viceroy and spoke out against any military intervention in the troubled country.

Pompeo said the diplomats assigned to Venezuela will continue their work "from other locations" where they will continue to work on getting humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people "and support the democratic actors bravely resisting tyranny".

Venezuela is gripped by an acute economic crisis that has fueled the rise of opposition leader Juan Guaido, the national assembly speaker who in late January declared himself to be the interim leader. He said staffers look forward to resuming their presence in Venezuela "once the transition to democracy begins". The U.S. flag outside the embassy had been taken down. The diplomats left the country on a chartered civilian aircraft.

"Today, all United States diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country". However, the Venezuelan government had described the remaining American diplomats as a threat to the country's peace and stability.

Meanwhile, businesses re-opened and public transportation resumed in parts of Venezuela where power has been restored, ending almost a week of the country's worst blackouts.

While the power outage in the country which holds the world's largest oil reserves has shut down oil production and processing operations as well as the main oil export terminal, the blackout has caused massive shortages of running water.

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

Guaido denied the allegations at an anti-Maduro protest Tuesday.

Pompeo tweeted earlier this week that the diplomats would be withdrawn because they had become a "constraint" on United States policy. He did not clarify what he meant by that remark.

The US has already imposed sanctions created to choke off Venezuelan oil sales, the lifeblood of the leftist government in Caracas.

Also Thursday, Russia's Gazprombank said it was pulling out of a joint venture with PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company, Russian state media reported. Russian Federation is an ally of Maduro, but its oil interests in Venezuela have been jeopardized since the Trump administration hit PDVSA with sanctions in January.

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino revealed the government has revoked hundred of visas from "Maduro-aligned" Venezuelans over the last four days.

"Since this Monday. we have revoked 340 visas, 107 of which include visas of Maduro's former diplomats and their families", Palladino told reporters.

The United States had withdrawn most of the diplomatic staff from the embassy five weeks ago, leaving a core group behind.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER