Three of the four major opposition groups supported the bill to remove opposition leader Juan Guaido and create a five-member commission to manage foreign assets.

from Venezuela opposition National Assembly has voted to impeach “interim president” Juan Guaido, dissolve his government and appoint a commission to manage the country’s foreign assets as lawmakers seek a united front ahead of the upcoming elections for 2024.

The vote, which took place in an online session on Friday, reflects a shifting balance of power within the opposition as it seeks new ways to engage with voters ahead of the 2024 presidential election and defeat left-wing leader Nicolas Maduro.

The article to abolish the “interim government” and the article to create the wealth commission were adopted by 72 votes to 29, with 8 abstentions.

Three of the four major opposition groups — Justice First, Democratic Action and A New Era — backed the bill to remove Guaido and create the five-member commission to manage foreign assets, particularly the US-based refinery Citgo, a subsidiary of state oil. company PDVSA.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido
In a recent poll, only six percent of Venezuelans said they would vote for Guaido if he ran in next year’s presidential primaries [File: Yuri Cortez/AFP]

“It is with a heavy heart that I cast this vote,” said Luis Silva, a member of the Democratic Action Party who took part in the online session for the vote.

“We failed to reach a unanimous decision, but we have to look for new strategies.”

Supporters say the opposition’s control of foreign assets is not in danger and the dissolution is necessary for unity ahead of the election.

Guaido has been the public face of Venezuela’s fractious opposition since 2019, when he appealed to the constitution to take on an interim presidency, drawing support from the United States and other governments seeking Maduro’s reelection. rejected in 2018.

However, Maduro still controls almost all Venezuelan institutions, including its security forcesand Guaido’s caretaker government, which controls a number of foreign assets and runs many embassies, is seeing its support wane.

“Jump into the Abyss”

Guaido, whose Voluntad Popular party did not support the effort, had urged lawmakers to replace him rather than dissolve the caretaker government.

“To cancel this is to jump into the abyss,” Guaido told the assembly after the votes. “It destroys what could have been preserved.”

Opposition parties are hoping Washington will renew a license that protects Citgo from possible seizures by creditors when the license expires in January.

Venezuela owes more than $60 billion to creditors.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the US National Security Council said on Friday that Washington will continue to support the opposition, assembly and interim government “whatever form it takes”.

The failure to oust Maduro has frustrated Venezuelans, who are struggling high inflationfood shortages and the lowest wages in South America – hardships that have forced millions of people to migrate in recent years.

In a poll conducted by Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas last month, only six percent of Venezuelans said they would vote for Guaido if he contested presidential primaries next year, while a few other opposition leaders received larger numbers.

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