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U.S. & allied diplomats storm out as Venezuelan FM addresses United Nations drugs convention

15 March 2019

The last remaining USA diplomats in Caracas have left Venezuela "for the time being", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday shortly after they and their Marine guards boarded a flight for the United States.

In his statement, Pompeo praised the diplomats on an emotional day as they abandoned the embassy.

"I know it is a hard moment for them", U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the departing diplomats. "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 gave no details
He gave no details

Venezuela is one of the world's foremost crude oil producers and extractors, but a crumbling infrastructure - the result of years of mismanagement by the country's Socialist government - has made the supply impossible to control. He said staffers look forward to resuming their presence in Venezuela "once the transition to democracy begins".

The U.S. Treasury Department earlier this week imposed sanctions on Moscow-based Evrofinance Mosnarbank, jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state companies, accusing it of helping PDVSA evade U.S. financial restrictions.

"Venezuelans have woken up to find their tap water running black in the latest crisis to hit the beleaguered South American nation", reports the Daily Mail.

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Palladino also warned followers of the embattled Nicolas Maduro not to harass USA -backed leader Juan Guaido.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, center, and Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, take part in a conference in Athens, Thursday, March 14, 2019. Since Monday, the US has revoked 340 visas, 107 of which were for Venezuelan diplomats and their families, according to Palladino.

Despite the personnel evacuation, Pompeo said the Trump administration maintains its support of opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his effort to oust authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro, whom the longer recognizes as the country's rightful leader.

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"I congratulate him for the work he did", Maduro said in a speech Tuesday night.

More than 300 people were arrested for protesting and looting during an unprecedented weeklong blackout across Venezuela, an NGO for detainees critical of President Nicolas Maduro's government said on Thursday.

While most Venezuelans aren't suffering from such clearly contaminated water, nearly all Venezuelans are struggling to live without power, as the electrical grid system failure drags on into its second week.

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"The goal of these sanctions is to continue to deprive the illegitimate Maduro regime of access to funds and deny their ability to continue stealing from the Venezuelan people", the official said. But he was remarkably complimentary of the charge d'affaires, James "Jimmy" Story, whom he described as professional, though he said they had not met.

U.S. & allied diplomats storm out as Venezuelan FM addresses United Nations drugs convention