US orders some diplomats to leave Venezuela

US orders some diplomats to leave Venezuela
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The United States on Thursday ordered some diplomats to leave Venezuela amid security concerns over the leadership struggle currently engulfing the country.

The State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security wrote in an alert that they have "ordered non-emergency U.S. government employees to depart Venezuela.

"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela."

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that the decision to remove some staff was based on the security situation.

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The embassy in Venezuela will remain open.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro cut off diplomatic ties with the U.S. on Wednesday after the U.S. recognized Venezuela's National Assembly leader, Juan Guaidó, as interim president.

In doing so, Maduro ordered American diplomats in Venezuela to leave within 72 hours.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dem anxiety grows ahead of Super Tuesday Pompeo expects US-Taliban agreement to be signed on Feb. 29 The Hill's Morning Report — Sanders, Dems zero in on Super Tuesday MORE said Wednesday that Maduro did not have the legal authority to cut off diplomatic ties and expel diplomats.

"The United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata," Pompeo said in a statement

-Updated 7:19 p.m.