Washington: The United States will be withdrawing its remaining personnel from its embassy in Venezuela this week, according to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
“The US will withdraw all remaining personnel from @usembassyve this week. This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of US diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on US policy,” Pompeo tweeted on Tuesday.
The United States had, in January, ordered all of its non-emergency government employees to leave Venezuela, following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to sever diplomatic ties with the nation due to the ongoing political crisis.
Maduro has accused the United States of plotting a coup to overthrow him by supporting National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the interim President of Venezuela.
On January 23, Guaido declared himself as the President of Venezuela amidst major protests calling for Maduro to step down from his post. The United States, while extending its support to Guaido, also rallied for other nations to side with Guaido. Countries like Japan, UK, Spain recognised Guaido as the interim President, after their ultimatum to Maduro to hold fresh elections expired as the embattled President continues to hold on to his post.
While Maduro is the elected President of Venezuela, most of the international community has decried the previous elections as rigged. Making things worse, Venezuela’s economy is currently grappling with US-imposed sanctions, as a major shortage of medicines and inflation is leading to growing public dissent against the Maduro-government.
Adding to this, the Latin American country is yet to wholly recover from the total blackout which hit 22 out of 23 states across the nation last week. Maduro has blamed the United States for this major powercut as well, accusing US-supported Guaido of carrying out a cyber attack on Venezuela’s power supply system. Around 17 people have died from the blackout alone in the nation, while schools were ordered shut on Monday.