All US diplomats have left Venezuela, says Mike Pompeo

26 January 2019 Venezuela Caracas Numerous demonstrators raise their hands in support of the self-proclaimed interim president Guaido at a rally of the opposition in the Venezuelan capital

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced that all remaining USA diplomats have left Venezuela "for the time being", as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized by several nations including the United States as the interim leader of Venezuela, said Friday has distributed aid in the country.

A general view of the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela March 14, 2019.

The US-backed "interim president" of Venezuela Juan Guaido isn't violating the 30-day constitutional limit because the legislature backing him voted to make it not apply, "explained" the US special envoy Elliott Abrams.

"We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins".

The giant US flag was lowered at the sprawling hillside embassy shortly before the roughly 20 diplomatic personnel left for the airport Thursday morning.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the diplomats will continue their "mission from other locations", and said that the situation is only temporary.

The country began returning to normal on Thursday following a near-total weeklong blackout that the government has blamed on what it calls sabotage encouraged by the US.

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The president noted that the "cyberattack against the Venezuelan electric energy system was a terror act by the USA government against the Venezuelan people".

The Venezuelan government said on Tuesday that some electricity has returned in some areas, Associated Press reports.

Maduro accuses Guaido and the United States of plotting an invasion. Despite this, he said the USA will continue to stand with self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido.

More than 600 visas have been revoked since late 2018 as part of USA efforts to pressure Maduro's government, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said.

"Since this Monday. we have revoked 340 visas, 107 of which include visas of Maduro's former diplomats and their families", Palladino told reporters.

Maduro's government in January cut ties with the USA over its recognition of Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader, a stand taken by about 50 other countries that contend Maduro's re-election past year was rigged and that he has no legitimacy.

The State Department had already announced that it would withdraw its remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela this week.

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