Mike Pompeo says all US diplomats have left Venezuela

The US Embassy in Caracas, March 12, 2019.
The US Embassy in Caracas, March 12, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - All US diplomats remaining in Venezuela left the country on Thursday (March 14), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid a political crisis over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election.

"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 in a statement.

A US official said the diplomats were flown out in a civilian charter aircraft.

The State Department had already announced that it would withdraw its remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela this week.

Washington has taken the lead in recognizing Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old Congress chief who declared himself interim president in January, calling Maduro's 2018 re-election a fraud.

Most countries in Europe and Latin America have followed suit.