Tags: us | diplomats. venezuela | vote | constitution

US Diplomats in Venezuela: Relatives Ordered to Leave Country

Image: US Diplomats in Venezuela: Relatives Ordered to Leave Country

Opposition activists clash with riot police during a demonstration against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, on June 5, 2017. (Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 28 Jul 2017 12:36 PM

U.S. diplomats have been given the option to leave Venezuela with their families after the State Department ordered relatives to get out of the country ahead of a Sunday vote to start rewriting the constitution.

According to The New York Times, the Venezuelan government is in the midst of a restructuring after President Nicolás Maduro created a new government body that would rule above all other branches for a period of time while the country's constitution undergoes a rewrite.

The Trump administration and other critics of the plan argue that move is establishing the groundwork for a dictatorship by Maduro, the Times noted. The administration recently leveled sanctions against 13 Venezuelans connected to Maduro, including his interior minister and leaders of the army.

Trump has said he would impose "strong and swift economic action" if Maduro proceeds with Sunday's vote, according to the newspaper.

"The political and security situation in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change quickly," said the State Department Thursday. "Since April 2017, political rallies and demonstrations occur daily throughout the country, often with little notice."

"Disruptions to traffic and public transportation are common. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants, and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism. Armed motorcycle gangs associated with the government frequently use violence to intimidate demonstrators," the statement continued.

The State Department warned in the statement that Venezuelan security forces have arrested individuals, including U.S. citizens in the past and "detained them for long periods with little or no evidence of a crime."

The statement said that Venezuelan officials may not even notify the U.S. embassy of a detention of a U.S. citizen and that consular access to detainees may be denied or delayed. Arrested U.S. citizens may also be denied proper medical care, clean water, and food, the statement concluded.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Maduro specifically mocked Trump in front of supporters Thursday.

"Mr. Trump, go home! Mr. Trump, go home!" Maduro shouted in English to a large crowd, calling him an "emperor," the Times stated.

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U.S. diplomats have been given the option to leave Venezuela with their families after the State Department ordered relatives to get out of the country ahead of a Sunday vote to start rewriting the constitution.
us, diplomats. venezuela, vote, constitution
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2017-36-28
Friday, 28 Jul 2017 12:36 PM
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