USA considers sanctions to restrict Visa, Mastercard in Venezuela
USA considers sanctions to restrict Visa, Mastercard in Venezuela
China offers help to Venezuela to restore power
15 March, 2019, 15:56
USA officials led allied diplomats in a huffy walkout as Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza stood to address a United Nations convention on narcotics in Vienna, declaring he represented an "illegitimate government".
This Sept. 12, 2008 photo shows the USA embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.
"US diplomats will now continue that mission from other locations where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people and support the democratic actors bravely resisting tyranny", Pompeo said. However, the Venezuelan government had described the remaining American diplomats as a threat to the country's peace and stability.
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.
Maduro, who retains control of the military and other state institutions as well as the backing of Russian Federation and China, has blamed Washington for his nation's economic turmoil and denounced opposition leader Juan Guaido as a puppet of the United States.
He said "anarchy" reigned in Venezuela's second city of Maracaibo during the power outage, with "generalised looting".
Pompeo tweeted earlier in the week that the USA diplomats were being withdrawn because their continued presence in Caracas had become a "constraint" on US policy.
He gave no details
The US has already imposed sanctions created to choke off Venezuelan oil sales, the lifeblood of the leftist government in Caracas.
Maduro accuses Guaido and the United States of plotting an invasion.
Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in an address on state television Wednesday that Maduro decided the public sector would resume work on Thursday, although state schools would remain closed for an extra day.
The sweeping financial sanctions against PDVSA, aimed at curbing crude exports to the United States and driving Maduro from power, were the strongest measures yet against Venezuela's vital oil sector.
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.
The New York Times on Thursday quoted Palladino saying, "We hold former President Maduro and those surrounding him fully responsible for the safety and welfare of interim president Juan Guaido and his family".
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 a year ago was rigged and that he has no legitimacy.
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