Argentina accuses Venezuela of cutting power to its embassy after meeting with opposition leaders

Argentina on Tuesday accused Venezuela of cutting the electricity supply to its embassy in Caracas after the diplomatic mission hosted a meeting with the country’s opposition leaders, the latest sign of souring relations between the two South American nations’ ideologically opposed governments.

In a statement, the Office of Argentine President Javier Milei claimed the embassy’s power was turned off Monday in a “deliberate action that endangers the safety of Argentine diplomatic personnel and Venezuelan citizens under protection.”

Argentine diplomats had invited the Venezuelan opposition leaders, who were not named in the statement, to the mission out of concern stemming from “the deterioration of the institutional situation and the acts of harassment and persecution directed against political figures in Venezuela,” it added.

Venezuela’s opposition has accused Maduro’s government of repressing its leaders and stifling any free and fair campaigning ahead of the country’s presidential elections on July 28.

Maduro, who has ruled Venezuela since the death of his mentor President Hugo Chavez in 2013, announced on March 17 that he’s running for re-election for another six-year term. It is unclear whether he will face any real challenge, as his main rival, María Corina Machado, has been barred from standing over corruption allegations, which she denies.

Under Maduro’s rule, Venezuela has suffered hyperinflation and an unprecedented economic collapse, deepened by sanctions imposed by the United States in 2017 against its vital oil and gas sector.

The US partially rolled back punitive measures on Caracas in late 2023 but in January reinstated economic sanctions against a Venezuelan state-owned mining company following the barring of Machado from the election.

Colombia and Brazil issued statements Tuesday expressing concern over the opposition’s ability to fairly compete in the upcoming presidential contest.

Maduro on Tuesday criticized foreign governments which he claimed, “seek to intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela.”

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