The United States will pull out its remaining diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced late Monday.
The United States and the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro are increasingly at odds, with the Trump administration openly supporting his rival, Juan Guaidó, as the country’s legitimate leader.
“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,” tweeted Pompeo.
In January, Washington had already drawn down the embassy staff to a minimum and pulled out dependents as relations with the Venezuelan government continued to deteriorate and the situation in the country worsened.
The country has been crippled by a five-day power outage that has plunged people into darkness and left food and water scarce. Venezuela has been racked for the past years by severe economic crisis that has devastated the once-prosperous oil-rich nation.
The government announced that schools and commercial activities would again be suspended on Tuesday due to the power outage.
Guaidó is in a standoff with Maduro, whom he accuses of being fraudulently elected in 2018. More than 50 countries around the world have recognized Guaidó, the leader of parliament, as the country’s legitimate leader.
Appearing Monday on television, Maduro stated that progress was being made in restoring power. He blamed the crisis on sabotage.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Paul Schemm