HAVANA TIMES – The United States today ordered the immediate departure of family members of the embassy staff in Venezuela and authorized the voluntary departure of government employees who also wish to leave, informed the US State Department.
“The political situation and security in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change rapidly,” the US government said in a statement.
For those who remain there, the State Department headed by Rex Tillerson has ordered a restriction of movement and hours to do so. In Caracas there is no US ambassador since 2010, when the two countries withdrew those that from the respective capitals, noted dpa news.
The decision to have relatives of embassy officials leave, and the employees who requested it, was taken three days before the Constituent Assembly, which Present Nicolas Maduro wants to draft a new Constitution and further increase his powers.
President Trump warned Maduro that he would take “strong and quick economic action” if he did not give up on the Constituent Assembly process, which top officials described as a “red line” that marks “the end of democracy.” On Wednesday, the US administration imposed sanctions on 13 other senior Venezuelan officials.
The State Department also issued a travel warning to its citizens not to travel to the country in the face of “social unrest, violent crimes and widespread shortages of food and medicines.”
Venezuela is immersed in a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The latest wave of protests against Maduro’s government began in early April. Within the framework of these protests over a hundred people have died.
“US citizens have been arrested, detained and robbed in the vicinity of the protests” against the Maduro government, the statement said.
It also refers to people – including US citizens – detained for long periods of time with little or no evidence that they had committed a crime.
“The US embassy may not be notified of the detention of a US citizen and access to detainees may be denied or much delayed,” warned the State Department, adding that detainees may not have access to medical care, potable water and food.
Earlier this week, the US embassy in Caracas urged US citizens to take preparatory measures, including stocking up on food and water supplies, for the 48-hour strike that the opposition called Wednesday and Thursday.