Maduro is pushing for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has appointed a new foreign minister in a cabinet shakeup that comes amid negotiations with the opposition aimed at easing the country’s political stalemate.
Félix Plasencia, Venezuela’s envoy to China, will now serve as Venezuela’s top diplomat, while outgoing Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza will serve as Minister of Industry and Production, President Maduro wrote on Twitter.
Plasencia “has the immense responsibility to continue the excellent diplomatic work carried out by Jorge Arreaza,” Maduro wrote.
“We must ensure the triumph of our Diplomacy of Peace throughout the world.”
Mature is pushing for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe against Venezuelan officials and institutions for the state repression of democracy in the South American oil country.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has maintained measures against the Venezuelan economy and has continued to support opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
Maduro’s latest cabinet change also brings changes to the ministries of education, interior and mining.
The opposition and the government last week opened conversations in Mexico City in which the opposition seeks to improve electoral conditions and the release of jailed activists, while Maduro’s allies push for an end to US sanctions.
Maduro had expressed optimism on August 16 about the talks with the opposition and told a press conference in Caracas that the discussions had gotten off to a “good start.”
Maduro brandished an agreement signed by government and opposition delegates at the talks, which are being mediated by Norway and organized by Mexico.
“We took the first step: to dialogue with those who wanted to kill us and overthrow us. Where in the world does this happen? We have sat down to see the faces of those who wanted to kill us, “said Maduro.
He said the negotiations “have already been successful.” Discussions are scheduled to resume in three weeks.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who discussed the prospects for Venezuela with Guaidó in March, he welcomed the talks in a tweet on August 14.
The announcement of negotiations between Venezuela’s democratic opposition and the Maduro regime is a welcome first step toward restoring democracy. We join the EU and Canada in urging the parties to reach lasting agreements that lead to the democratic future that Venezuelans deserve.
– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 14, 2021
The opposition wants Maduro to free dozens of people he considers political prisoners and provide guarantees that his candidates can stand in the regional elections scheduled for November.
Guaidó, who declared himself president of Venezuela in 2019 through his position as president of parliament, wants guarantees on electoral conditions and a clear program for the presidential elections.