U.S. orders embassy employees out of Venezuela
The United States ordered all non-emergency diplomatic employees in Venezuela to leave the country and warned against travel
The United States ordered all non-emergency diplomatic employees in Venezuela to leave the country and warned against travel amid unrest over its leadership.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory warning citizens to reconsider travel to Venezuela due to "crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens" after U.S. President Donald Trump and the White House recognized National Assembly President and opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and denied the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro.
"Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism," the advisory stated.
The advisory came after Maduro closed Venezuela's embassy and all of its consulates in the United States, calling back its 75 diplomats and other consulate personnel to Venezuela by Saturday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday night the United States will continue diplomatic relations with Venezuela, arguing Maduro does not have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations or to declare diplomats persona non grata.
On Wednesday Trump said the United States no longer recognizes Maduro as Venezuela's president. Instead, he said, Guaido is now considered the interim president of Venezuela. Turkey, Russia and China defended Maduro on Thursday, in sharp contrast to the U.S. declaration.
The Trump administration argues Maduro's election victory last year wasn't legitimate because opponents boycotted the vote. Trump said Guaido will be considered interim leader until new elections are held.
"The United States will take appropriate actions to hold accountable anyone who endangers the safety and security of our mission and its personnel," Pompeo added in a statement.