Wednesday 16 October 2019

US to withdraw all its diplomats from Venezuela as the 'situation deteriorates' in wake of blackout

A woman carries containers to collect water from a fountain in the wake of shortages. Photo: AP
A woman carries containers to collect water from a fountain in the wake of shortages. Photo: AP

Rich McKay

The United States will withdraw all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela this week, the State Department said, citing the deteriorating situation in the country after months of political unrest.

It followed Washington's January 24 decision to withdraw all dependents and reduce embassy staff to a minimum in the South American country hit by unrest over a contested presidential election.

"This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of US diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on US policy," the State Department said.

It did not give more details or set a day for when personnel would be withdrawn from the embassy in Caracas.

Venezuela's congress has declared a "state of alarm" over a five-day power blackout that has crippled the OPEC nation's oil exports and left millions of citizens scrambling to find food and water.

Venezuela also suspended school and business activities yesterday due to the power blackout.

Irish Independent

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