State Department to withdraw all remaining staff from Venezuela

12 Mars, 2019, 12:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Venezuelan leader is under pressure to step down.

The rival president of Venezuela has called for mass demonstrations today to protest against widespread power blackouts that have led to the deaths of at least 17 people.

Schools and businesses were closed, long lines of cars waited at the few petrol stations with electricity and hospitals cared for many patients without power.

The United States will pull out its remaining diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced late Monday.

While he did not announce new measures against Maduro or in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as interim president by some 50 countries, Pompeo did take aim at the "central role Cuba and Russian Federation have played and continue to play in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare".

With the nation in turmoil, Venezuelans are facing a serious shortage of food and everyday items and constant blackouts.

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During his news conference, Mr Pompeo hit out at Cuba, Russia and China for supporting the Maduro regime.

He added: "The electric war announced and directed by USA imperialism against our people will be defeated".

That day the department also urged Americans living in Venezuela to consider leaving. "The Venezuelan people are watching", he said.

Generators have alleviated conditions for some of the critically ill.

"We have apprehended two people who attempted to sabotage the communications system at the Guri dam in order to impede the process of [power supplies] restoration".

Mr Guaido, who heads the opposition-controlled congress, and the United States say Mr Maduro's claims that the U.S. sabotaged the power grid with a "cyberattack" are an attempt to divert attention from the government's own failings.

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