USA & allied diplomats storm out as Venezuelan FM addresses United Nations drugs convention

USA & allied diplomats storm out as Venezuelan FM addresses United Nations drugs convention

USA & allied diplomats storm out as Venezuelan FM addresses United Nations drugs convention

The Venezuelan National Assembly, dominated by the opposition, has declared a state of alarm over the blackout that the Maduro government blamed on a US cyber-attack and that plunged the struggling country into darkness and chaos for five days.

This Sept. 12, 2008 photo shows the USA embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has hit Maduro's government, his political allies and Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA with a series of sanctions since recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president at the end of January.

"I know it is a hard moment for them", U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the departing diplomats.

In his statement, Pompeo praised the diplomats on an emotional day as they abandoned the embassy. He said they would continue to carry on their "mission from other locations, where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people". "We look forward to resuming our presence once the transition to democracy begins".

He gave no details
He gave no details

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino revealed the government has revoked hundred of visas from "Maduro-aligned" Venezuelans over the last four days.

Senior Trump administration officials have warned in recent weeks that Venezuelan banks or worldwide financial institutions could face USA sanctions for helping Maduro to steal or hide Venezuelan state assets.

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

The worsening situation has bolstered Juan Guaido, an opposition leader whose claim to be Venezuela's interim president is backed by the USA and 50 other countries.

"I congratulate him for the work he did", Maduro said in a speech Tuesday night. He has also promised an investigation into Guaido for "alleged involvement in the sabotage of the Venezuelan electricity system". US officials and Guaido said the allegation is absurd and that government corruption and mismanagement caused the infrastructure collapse in a country already suffering hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods.

Bolivia's left-wing president on Thursday compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to an erstwhile colonial viceroy and spoke out against any military intervention in the troubled country.

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