Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Venezuela Blackout Continues As US Diplomats Prepare To Leave

Venezuela Blackout Continues As US Diplomats Prepare To Leave

According to Bloomberg, India became the largest customer for Venezuelan oil last month, buying about 55 per cent of that country's oil production.

The US main opposition is towards the country's President Nicolas Maduro, who the US does not recognise as leader.

The notice of withdrawal comes as Venezuela enters its fifth day struggling with a massive power outage that has brought the capital Caracas' subway system to a standstill and has caused airlines to cancel flights, among other issues.

"The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from [the U.S. embassy in Venezuela] this week", Pompeo said in a tweet.

Maduro had ordered all US diplomats to leave Venezuela in late January because of its support from Guaido, but he retreated and allowed them to stay.

Late Monday, President Nicolas Maduro said on national television that progress had been made in restoring power in Venezuela. "So we talked about (Venezuela) - I certainly won't characterize the conversations; they're private conversations", Pompeo said in response to a question.

The US State Department announced it is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, citing the "deteriorating situation" and referring to the presence of US staff at the embassy as a "constraint on US policy".

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

"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 USA policy", Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on a Moscow-based bank jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies, alleging it tried to circumvent U.S. sanctions on the South American country.

Evrofinance said it was carrying out its activities normally despite the announcement and pledged to "meet its obligations to the clients and partners in full".

Much of Venezuela has been without electricity for going on five days now due to a power outage that the government blames on what it calls "sabotage encouraged by the U.S".

Venezuela is in political turmoil as a row between Maduro and the opposition leader Juan Guaido continues to escalate. Maduro says he is the target of a US coup plot.

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