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Pompeo: U.S. removing staff from embassy in Venezuela

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. CNN Wire

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is withdrawing the last of its staff from its embassy in Venezuela, citing the deteriorating situation.

Pompeo announced the decision late Monday as Venezuela struggles to restore electricity following four days of blackouts around the country and a deepening political crisis.

The U.S. has led an international effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold new a presidential election.

Guaido is backed by some 50 countries, while Maduro maintains support from countries such as China, Russia and Cuba.

Maduro ordered U.S. diplomats to leave in late January but then backed off.

Pompeo says the remaining diplomats in Venezuela will be removed by the end of the week.

The widespread blackouts in Venezuela have brought oil exports to a halt, and financial experts say that is costing the cash-strapped country millions of dollars a day.

The socialist government of contends the outage was caused by a cyber attack launched from the United States,

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