U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered the withdrawal of all remaining U.S. diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, hours after Washington imposed sanctions on a Russian bank over its dealings with Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA.
The U.S. moves on March 11 turned up the pressure on both Caracas and Moscow, which is one of the biggest financial backers for Venezuela’s embattled leader, Nicolas Maduro, RFERL reports.
“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.”
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
This could have been the final factor in making the decision, Maduro regime has blamed the United States for the electrical blackouts, claiming without evidence that they conducted cyber attacks against the country’s national grid.
Blackouts and power shortages in Venezuela have now entered their fourth day, as the crisis-stricken country’s economic and humanitarian crisis continues to deepen.
The power outage began last Friday, with around 70 percent of the country receiving little or no electricity at all, making it the longest and most severe blackout in the country’s history. The situation that has already sparked considerable civil unrest, with incidents of mass lootings and the closure of nearly all public services.
“Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational,” NPR’s Philip Reeves reported from the city.
“Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street,” Reeves added.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.