AP NEWS

Venezuelan opposition ambassador meets with diaspora in Houston

March 13, 2019

The ambassador of Venezuela’s opposition government, Carlos Vecchio, is meeting with members of the local Venezuelan community Wednesday at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

Vecchio represents the government established by the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the president of the national assembly, who declared his presidency on Jan. 23, parallel to the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Guaidó backed his political move to take the presidency alleging a constitutional void of power, calling Maduro an “usurper” who won the elections fraudulently last May.

The duality of powers in Venezuela has the country in a deadlock. Maduro has the support of the military and Guaidó is fully backed by the United States, while Venezuelans are submerged in a political, social and economic crisis plagued by extreme scarcities, blackouts and civil unrest.

Vecchio is the representative of Venezuela in the U.S. named Chargé d’Affaires by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Tickets to attend Vecchio’s presentation were sold before the event, driven by an active Venezuelan diaspora in Houston that largely supports Guaidó.

The population of Venezuelans in Houston has been growing steadily to around 25,000 people since far leftist Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1999, initiating a change in the country known as “chavismo” that has continued until today with his successor Maduro.

olivia.tallet@chron.com

Twitter.com/oliviaptallet