Last remaining USA diplomats leave Venezuela amid worsening tensions

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The Venezuelan government disputed Pompeo's account, saying it had instructed the USA diplomats to leave.

"I know it is a hard moment for them", he said, referencing the USA diplomats.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido claimed that he had control over CITGO, a US-based subsidiary of the Latin American country's state-owned energy company PDVSA.

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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.

Pompeo said the diplomatic staff would continue from outside Venezuela to work for its future, help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance and support those "bravely resisting tyranny".

Pompeo released a statement Thursday, soon after the last diplomats were reported to have left.

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All United States diplomats remaining in Venezuela left the country on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid a political crisis over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election. According to the Treasury, the extension would enable CITGO to continue its activities while "prohibiting any benefit from flowing back to the illegitimate Maduro regime". The U.S. flag outside the embassy had been taken down. State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters that the USA has revoked more than 600 visas from Venezuelans since late previous year.

Earlier this week, Pompeo explained the decision to withdraw all diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, "reflects the deteriorating situation" and said their presence has "become a constraint on U.S. policy".

In February, the United States office of Guaido, who illegally proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela in January and was swiftly recognized by Washington, announced CITGO's new board of directors. "The whole world knows who the saboteur is", he said.

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