All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo



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

According to Reuters US official said the diplomats were flown out in a civilian charter aircraft.

Maduro repeated his claim that the blackout, which lasted nearly a week, was due to "successive attacks" against the country's major hydroelectric facility at Guri in Bolivar state, "directed" by U.S. President Donald Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton.

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

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

The State Department had already announced that it would withdraw its remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela this week.

All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo

"They are fully dedicated to our mission of supporting the Venezuelan people's aspirations to live in a democracy and build a better future for their families", he added.

As of late 2018, the US has revoked more than 600 Venezuelan visas.

Large crowds have gathered in the northern Venezuelan city of Valencia to greet opposition leader Juan Guaido, who plans to tour the country as part of his campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters that the US has revoked more than 600 visas from Venezuelans since late past year.

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.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, 35, is seeking to capitalise on public anger over the blackout, which has piled misery on a population suffering years of economic crisis and shortages of food and medicine under Maduro. "The whole world knows who the saboteur is", he said.

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