Venezuelan 'embassy' in US shuts doors after Guaido ouster
The former opposition leader was ousted as a result of peace talks between Maduro and leading opposition groups which are owed to recent deals struck with American oil companies.
Venezuela's "embassy" in Washington DC announced it is shutting down following Juan Guaido's ouster as opposition leader.
"We inform the Venezuelan community in the US, and the public in general, that the Venezuelan embassy in the US and all its officials formally ceased functions on Thursday, January 5, 2023," the mission said in a statement on Saturday.
Venezuela was thrown into a political crisis in January 2019 when Juan Guaido, the former head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, backed by the US, declared himself "interim president" in an attempt to depose re-elected President Nicolas Maduro.
The US then recognized Guaido as interim president, with 50 other countries following suit.
Last month, the now-defunct opposition voted to dissolve the "interim government" of Guaido after Maduro confirmed that his government is ready to develop the process of normalizing political and diplomatic relations with the US.
"Total votes: 72 votes in favor, 29 votes against, eight abstained," Jose Antonio Figueredo, the secretary of Venezuela’s National Assembly, had stated.
Three of the four leading opposition groups then agreed to establish a commission made up of five members to manage the country's foreign assets.
Guaido's party, the Voluntad Popular, had tried to avert efforts to reunify the nation by suggesting they would simply replace Guaido instead of dissolving the "interim government".
The former opposition leader was deposed as a result of peace talks between Maduro and leading opposition groups, which were facilitated by recent agreements with American oil companies.
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On December 2, Venezuela's oil minister Tareck El Aissami and top representatives of state-run company PDVSA signed contracts with US oil firm Chevron Corp (CVX.N) with the aim of reviving the nation's oil output and expanding operations.
In a first, the US granted, a week prior, permission for Chevron to start pumping oil in Venezuela, a report by Reuters said.
The report stated that US President Joe Biden authorized Chevron to sign a six-month license eyeing talks between the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition ahead of the elections.
In light of the recent decision adopted by OPEC+ to cut oil production, defying the White House's demands, it is likely that this move may be owed to energy security concerns.
Contracts signed by Venezuela and US-based Chevron Corp. include the PDVSA-Chevron joint ventures Petroboscan and Petropiar, according to officials.
As a result, Petropiar and Petroboscan are authorized by the license to primarily produce and extract oil, as well as activities related to maintenance, repair, or service; sell, export, or import to the United States via Chevron; and purchase and import into Venezuela products associated with the foregoing, such as diluents, condensates, oil, or natural gas.
"This is an important step towards the right direction, but yet insufficient," said oil minister Tareck El Aissami after the signing ceremony. "We demand the lifting of punishing measures that have hit our industry," he added.
The US has been depleting its own strategic reserves to manage oil prices that were hit hard by US and EU sanctions against Russia and their failed attempt to pressure OPEC+ into increasing production.
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