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Amid Chaos, American Diplomats Pulling out of Venezuela

Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, has announced that American diplomatic staff will leave Venezuela this week.

Venezuela has been in the midst of increasing chaos. Last week, power outages hit the country and power has not been completely restored. Nicholas Maduro has blamed the outages on “criminals” and the U.S., but they are likely the result of years of neglect by an incompetent administration. The power problems come on the heels of food shortages and Maduro’s attempts to keep food aid from entering the country.

The central issue is a criminal, despotic government which has systematically looted and ruined the economic and cultural strength that Venezuela once had. A once vibrant country has been reduced to poverty, with women prostituting themselves for food and people scrounging dirty water from streams.

In addition, Maduro’s forces are actively inhibiting safety and aid in the country. They prevented foreign aid from entering the country and now are chasing away aid workers within the country. According to the AP:

Marian Morales, a nurse working for a Catholic youth group, and several colleagues handed out diapers and food from a car parked near a hospital. Police and men in civilian clothing ordered them to leave, saying they didn’t have permission. Morales said the needy are cautious about approaching to collect the handouts because of the presence of security forces.

Meanwhile, Maduro is clinging to power in the face of opposition from Juan Guaidó who is recognized as the legitimate president by the United States and about fifty other countries. While Maduro clings, Venezuela continues to burn and starve.

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