The United States withdrew all remaining diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Caracas as the crisis in Venezuela deepens.
"Today all US diplomats left in Venezuela left the country, I know it's a difficult time for them," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Thursday 19659002. He said the United States remains committed to support the leader of the opposition Juan Guaido, who wants to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and hold elections.
"US diplomats now continue this mission from other locations where they will continue to help manage the flow of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people and support democratic actors by courageously resisting tyranny," said Pompeo.
All the remaining US diplomats in #Venezuela have left for the moment. We remain firm in our support for the Venezuelan people and @jguaido and we are looking forward to returning to Venezuela free and democratic. #EstamosUnidosVE
̵1; Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 14 March 2019
A convoy was seen leaving the US embassy in Caracas Thursday morning and the American flag was no longer flying out .  Pompeo tweeted earlier this week that diplomats would be withdrawn because they had become a "constraint" on US policy.
The Venezuelan government contested Pompey's report, saying that it had commissioned US diplomats to leave.
The closure of the embassy is destined to worsen the already tattered relations with US president Donald Trump, who did not exclude the military intervention to overthrow Maduro while Washington rapidly monitors ongoing events in the South American nation rich in oil but paralyzed.
The United States has already imposed sanctions designed to stifle sales of Venezuelan oil, the lifeblood of the left-wing government in Caracas.
The country began to return to normal on Thursday after an almost total week-long blackout that housekeeper Nell attributed to what it calls the US-sponsored sabotage.
Since January, the United States, Canada and several European countries have invited Maduro to resign.
They and others now recognize Guaido, the leader of the country the legislative body controlled by the opposition, as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela.
Maduro, however, maintains the support of 50 United Nations – member countries, including Russia, China and Turkey.
|Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate in Caracas [AFP]|
Al Jazeera and news agencies