Thursday 18 July, 2019

Relatives of US Embassy staff ordered to leave Venezuela

Relatives of staff attached to the US Embassy in Caracas have been ordered to leave the country after reports were received of mounting violence between Venezuelan security forces and protesters.

According to a report by the New York Times, the US State Department ordered family members of American government employees working at the Caracas embassy to leave the country and also gave employees the option to join them.

Escalating tensions are the result of an upcoming vote on Sunday which could lead to Venezuela’s constitution being re-written.

A revised travel warning was also issued, “due to social unrest, violent crime and pervasive food and medicine shortages” in the country.

The travel advisory added that Venezuelan security forces had arrested “individuals, including U.S. citizens, and detained them for long period with little or no evidence of a crime” or “access to proper medical care, clean water and food.”

If the vote is successful, President Nicolás Maduro would be able to create a constituent assembly which would be able to rewrite the Constitution.

Those opposed think the move would turn the country into a narco-authoritarian state.

The US placed several sanctions on senior Venezuelan officials that the U.S. says are undermining democracy, along with five others implicated in violence or repression, amid the country's political crisis.

The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals have in the United States and bar Americans from doing business with them.

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