Maduro taps new foreign minister in cabinet shakeup

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference with international media correspondents at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, on Aug 16, 2021. (FEDERICO PARRA / AFP)

CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday named the country's envoy to China as the new foreign minister in a cabinet shakeup that comes amid political negotiations with the opposition meant to ease a political stalemate.

Felix Plasencia will serve as Venezuela's top diplomat, while outgoing foreign minister Jorge Arreaza will serve as industry and production minister, Maduro wrote on Twitter.

"(Plasencia) has the immense responsibility of continuing the excellent diplomatic work carried out by Jorge Arreaza," Maduro wrote. "We must ensure the triumph of our Peace Diplomacy around the world."

ALSO READ: Maduro to request US sanction talks in opposition negotiation

The cabinet shuffle also brings changes to the education, interior and mining ministries.

The opposition and the government last week opened talks in Mexico City in which the opposition is seeking improved electoral conditions and the release of imprisoned activists while Maduro allies are pushing for an end to US sanctions.