Published: Fri, March 15, 2019

US Diplomats Leave Venezuela 'For The Time Being'

US Diplomats Leave Venezuela 'For The Time Being'

Earlier this week, Pompeo explained the decision to withdraw all diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, "reflects the deteriorating situation" and said their presence has "become a constraint on U.S. policy".

"We are in contact with both sides in Venezuela and can contribute if they so wish", said a Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman.

He said the U.S. remains committed to supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido, who wants to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and hold elections. Palladino noted that only a limited number of commercial flights remain available and the US Embassy in Caracas is unable to provide consular services following the departure of all US diplomats.

The escalating humanitarian crisis in Venezuela turned worse Thursday when the nation's tap water ran black with oil as starving residents scramble to find food and other basic supplies across the impoverished country.

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. The government says the national power grid is functioning well and that running water has returned to most of the country, though some areas reported continuing problems.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said power had been restored in the "vast majority" of the country.

Some neighbourhoods in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, where massive looting occurred during the outages, still didn't have power.

Pompeo tweeted earlier this week that the diplomats would be withdrawn because they had become a "constraint" on United States policy.

He gave no details
He gave no details

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

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

Maduro blamed the blackouts on alleged sabotage engineered by the USA and the Venezuelan opposition.

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.

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

President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second presidential term on 10 January after winning the May election, has called Guaido's move an attempt to stage a coup orchestrated by Washington.

The Venezuelan National Assembly, dominated by the opposition, has declared a state of alarm over the blackout that the Maduro government blamed on a US cyber-attack and that plunged the struggling country into darkness and chaos for five days.

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