United States withdraws all staff from embassy in Venezuela citing the deteriorating situation

Mike Pompeo holds a news conference to talk about the dire economic and political situation in Venezuela at the State Department headquarters

Mike Pompeo holds a news conference to talk about the dire economic and political situation in Venezuela at the State Department headquarters

The "on-notice" tweet is part of the latest escalation between Venezuelan and the United States after Washington slapped a fresh round of sanctions on PDVSA in January following Nicolas Maduro's inauguration for a second term as president.

No power means no water for many who depend on electric pumps. Nevertheless, she said had no choice but to use this water for bathing.

The Venezuelan power grid has been nearly completely restored following a massive blackout on 7 March, Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez announced on 12 March.

He accused the United States of threatening the nation with military intervention and said that officials in Washington "have systematically lied to the world regarding Venezuelan reality".

Earlier, Pompeo blasted Russian Federation and Cuba for their continued support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, accusing them of keeping his regime afloat despite the will of the country's people.

Fernando Llano  APPeople wait in line to fill up containers with water from a public fountain in Caracas Venezuela
Fernando Llano APPeople wait in line to fill up containers with water from a public fountain in Caracas Venezuela

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Monday night that the Trump administration is ordering the return of all staff from the US Embassy in Venezuela in the coming days; citing a "deteriorating situation" resulting from the country's five-day long blackout. The country hasn't shipped $358 million in oil since the power failures started, and "the whole system is grinding to a halt", said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based partner at the brokerage firm Caracas Capital Markets. "So we concluded this was simply the right step to take and this was the right time to take it".

Foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said the continued presence of the U.S. diplomats "entails risks for the peace, integrity and stability of the country".

Maduro, elected in 2013 following the death of his political mentor Hugo Chavez, officially broke diplomatic relations with the United States on January 23 when it recognised Guaido.

Venezuelan interim leader Juan Guaido on Monday requested the National Assembly he leads to declare a national emergency over the "public calamity" from the ongoing blackout. More than 50 countries around the world have recognized Guaidó, the leader of parliament, as the country's legitimate leader. Top Trump officials have warned in recent days that they want to take action to accelerate Maduro's departure, with National Security Adviser John Bolton threatening financial institutions, insurance companies, and shipping companies of USA sanctions.

The United States has implemented a raft of sanctions to put pressure on Maduro, and the USA special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, said on Tuesday that Washington was prepared to impose "very significant" additional sanctions in the coming days against financial institutions deemed to be supporting Maduro's government.

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