Venezuela foreign minister Ramirez named new UN envoy; Ramirez had been OPEC representative

IndustriesAssociated Press

Venezuela's former oil czar, Rafael Ramirez, has been named the nation's envoy to the United Nations.

President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement Friday, saying Ramirez would help Venezuela make best use of its two-year position on the U.N. Security Council.

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Ramirez was Venezuela's powerful oil czar until this fall, when he was reassigned to be foreign minister. Since then, he has represented the South American country before OPEC, unsuccessfully urging the organization to lower production in the face of plunging oil prices.

Venezuela's derives 95 percent of its revenue from oil.

Ramirez's appointment to foreign minister was widely seen as a demotion, and the opposition is calling the latest move another step down.

Delcy Rodriguez, who was Venezuela's information minister until October, will take Ramirez's post at the Foreign Ministry.