Smart move. In a collapsing country, their value as hostages increases by the day.
The U.S. is withdrawing its remaining diplomatic personnel from the embassy in Venezuela, citing the “deteriorating situation” given days of blackouts, increased water shortages and the threat of further protests.
The decision also comes amid growing concern that American diplomats could become a pawn in the battle with President Nicolas Maduro as the U.S. tries to push him from power.
Despite Maduro’s calls for their expulsion, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to keep American personnel there to support Juan Guaido, the president of the National Assembly who has been recognized as the country’s interim president by the U.S. and over 50 other countries.
But the sudden reversal was announced late Monday night in a statement where Pompeo called embassy staff’s presence a “constraint on U.S. policy.”
“Decisions you make are always encumbered by the fact that you know there’s real risk to your own people, people that you’ve sent into harm’s way,” Pompeo added Tuesday. “We wanted to get them out of the country so that we could move forward in a way that provided that opportunity.”