June 14, 2024

Venezuela’s new opposition leader says he trusts the United States to protect assets

2 min read
Venezuela’s new opposition leader says he trusts the United States to protect assets
Venezuela's new opposition leader says he trusts the US to protect assets

Dinora Figueira poses for a photo before an interview in Madrid

By Corina Ponce

MADRID (Reuters) – The new president of Venezuela’s opposition legislature has expressed hope that the United States will support the United States by continuing to protect foreign assets such as the Cidco Petroleum oil refinery from creditors.

Dinora Figueira, a 61-year-old doctor from the First Justice party, was elected earlier this month to lead the opposition National Assembly as it prepares to choose a presidential candidate and push for new talks with President Nicol├ís Maduro’s government.

Figueira, who lives in exile in Spain, told Reuters in an interview that a new triumvirate of female leaders in the assembly could protect assets such as the Citco refinery in the face of Maduro, whom the United States and other countries view as a dictator. And about $2 billion worth of gold in the bank from borrowers.

Maduro accused the opposition of working with the United States and other countries to stage a coup against him.

This month, the U.S. Treasury Department extended Citco’s protection until April, and Figueroa said it could be renewed.

“The US supports the National Assembly, the UK supports the National Assembly … we negotiated and we can renew this license (Citco) for several more months,” Figueroa said.

Venezuela owes more than $60 billion to creditors and faces legal disputes over nationalization and delayed bond issuances.

Opposition legislators appointed a committee to manage foreign assets.

Venezuela has traditionally had only one legislature, but currently has two parallel bodies, one of legislators aligned with the government and one with the opposition.

Figueira, who traveled to Spain in 2018, wants to “sew” opposition unity after some serious infighting between his major parties.

Like other opposition legislators, he does not receive a salary for his post.

He’s in the process of changing his medical credentials so he can’t practice in Spain yet, and he makes ends meet by caring for an 87-year-old diabetic woman in Valencia, southern Spain.

“I received threats from people who knew or owned Madurismo,” he said, referring to Maduro’s associates, and police seized his apartment and car in Venezuela hours after his nomination.

Although he lost his sister and mother to Covid-19 after leaving Venezuela, Figueroa still hopes to return one day.

“I believe we will move forward,” he said. “Dictatorships are not eternal.”


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