US or­ders rel­a­tives of em­bassy staff to leave Venezuela

Observer on Saturday - - News -

- The US State Depart­ment on Thurs­day or­dered the fam­ily mem­bers of its em­bassy staff in Cara­cas to leave Venezuela and au­tho­rised the vol­un­tary de­par­ture of its em­ploy­ees as a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis ap­peared headed for a dan­ger­ous show­down.

Its ad­vi­sory also warned cit­i­zens against trav­el­ling to the South Amer­i­can coun­try “due to so­cial un­rest, vi­o­lent crime, and per­va­sive food and medicine short­ages.” The move came as the em­bat­tled govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro was on a deadly col­li­sion course with the op­po­si­tion, which de­fied a govern­ment ban on hold­ing a na­tion­wide strike ahead of a con­tro­ver­sial week­end vote. Maduro has sched­uled an elec­tion for a con­sti­tu­tional as­sem­bly to­mor­row to re­write the coun­try’s ba­sic law — a move slammed by his op­po­nents as an at­tempt to strengthen his grip on power.

The US on Wed­nes­day im­posed sanc­tions on 13 cur­rent or for­mer se­nior Venezue­lan of­fi­cials in re­tal­i­a­tion for Maduro’s re­fusal to scrap the vote. It’s Thurs­day’s state­ment fur­ther noted: “The po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela is un­pre­dictable and can change quickly,” adding: “In­dis­crim­i­nate vi­o­lent crime is en­demic through­out the coun­try and can oc­cur any­where at any time.”


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