US Diplomats Pack Up and Leave Venezuela

Venezuela's Latest Nightmare: Crude Oil In The Tap Water

Pompeo said the diplomatic staff would continue from outside Venezuela to work for its future, help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance and support those "bravely resisting tyranny". The diplomats left the country on a chartered civilian aircraft.

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

Earlier this week, Maduro praised Story for his professional conduct. Most countries in Europe and Latin America have followed suit.

"The only solution.is dialogue, and that is what the European countries should support", he said.

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.

Pompeo explained the presence of diplomats in Venezuela at this time has put constraints on US policy.

Power was restored Thursday after a weeklong blackout that Maduro blamed on the United States.

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All US diplomats have left Venezuela: Mike Pompeo
The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry as well as individuals linked to Maduro's government, and U.S. Power has been restored to some areas in Venezuela since the weekend, but the supply has been intermittent and often drops out.

Guaido denied the allegations at an anti-Maduro protest Tuesday. He did not clarify what he meant by that remark.

The Venezuelan government disputed Pompeo's account, saying it had instructed the U.S. diplomats to leave.

"The United States government, at all levels, remains firm in its resolve and support for the people of Venezuela and interim President Juan Guaidó", Pompeo said in a statement. "It's the Maduro regime which has prevented that", he said. 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.

Also Thursday, the State Department confirmed it has revoked 340 US visas from Venezuelans, including more than 100 former diplomats and their families.

More than 600 visas have been revoked since late 2018 as part of US efforts to pressure Maduro's government, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said.

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

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed.

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