Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Last remaining USA diplomats leave Venezuela amid worsening tensions

Last remaining USA diplomats leave Venezuela amid worsening tensions

Despite the personnel evacuation, Pompeo said the Trump administration maintains its support of opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his effort to oust authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro, whom the longer recognizes as the country's rightful leader.

"How can they talk about democracy when they systematically violate the constitution, disable political parties, imprison opposition leaders and persecute anyone who dares to raise their voice in opposition?"

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. However, the Venezuelan government had described the remaining American diplomats as a threat to the country's peace and stability. Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said schools will re-open on Monday.

Venezuela's power grid troubles continue, and now, according to videos appearing on social media, citizens in one state of the poverty ravaged country are experiencing new troubles: tap water contaminated with what looks like crude oil.

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

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

A general view of the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela March 14, 2019. Maduro, backed by the military, refuses to hand over the government to Guaido.

The president noted that the "cyberattack against the Venezuelan electric energy system was a terror act by the U.S. government against the Venezuelan people".

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The Venezuelan authorities have accused the United States of waging a cyberattack against the hydroelectric power plant, the claim denied by Washington.

The New York Times on Thursday quoted Palladino saying, "We hold former President Maduro and those surrounding him fully responsible for the safety and welfare of interim president Juan Guaido and his family".

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

Pompeo released a video statement directly to the Venezuelan people on Thursday to reassure them of US support in the wake of the withdrawal.

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