WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday he is pulling remaining U.S. embassy staffers from Venezuela because of the country’s worsening situation.
“The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from [the Caracas embassy] this week,” Pompeo tweeted late Monday night. “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.”
The announcement comes as Venezuela continues to descend into chaos. Its government is currently attempting to restore electricity after four days of blackouts around the country, the latest in what has become a humanitarian crisis for the socialist country led by Nicolas Maduro.
Following what many international observers considered a sham election that gave Maduro another six-year term in office, Juan Guaido — leader of Venezuela’s congress — declared himself the legitimate leader of the country and has pledged to hold new presidential elections. The U.S. and about 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela. China, Russia, Cuba and other governments, however, have continued to support Maduro.
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Upon recognizing Guaido in January, Maduro ordered every U.S. diplomat to leave Venezuela, but the socialist leader later backtracked and allowed them to remain. The American government has already removed dependents of embassy personnel and some staffers. The remaining diplomats will be ordered out of the country by the close of the week.
The Western world remains mostly united in opposition to Maduro’s dictatorial reign. However, many in the U.S. Congress are not.
New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The Daily Caller in January that she thought President Donald Trump’s recognition of Guaido was “concerning” and she has since refused to denounce Maduro. Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar likened Trump’s recognition of Guaido to a coup and, in recently unearthed footage, was recorded comparing Maduro’s scandal-plagued election to Trump’s 2016 election victory.
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