The United States is to withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela this week, the US State Department announced late on Tuesday.
"Like the January 24 decision to withdraw all dependents and reduce embassy staff to a minimum, 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," the State Department said.
It did not say on what day the personnel would be withdrawn from the embassy in Caracas.
The U.S. 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 U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 12, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision as Venezuela struggles to restore electricity following four days of blackouts around the country and a deepening political crisis.
The US has led an international effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold a new presidential election. Guaido is backed by some 50 countries, while Maduro maintains support from countries such as China, Russia and Cuba.
Maduro had ordered all US diplomats to leave Venezuela in late January because of its support from Guaido, but he retreated and allowed them to stay. The US still withdrew dependents of embassy personnel as well as some of the staff. Pompeo said the remaining diplomats would be out of Venezuela by the end of the week.
The move came after another day of chaos as power outages that began Thursday evening continued to cause problems for Venezuelans, leaving them with little power, water and communications.
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