Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, 2016.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters

Opposition supporters take part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, October 26, 2016.

In 2014, a wave of unrest swept the country, leaving more than 40 dead, though now many opposed to the government say they feel protesting is pointless.

“If the international community stays firm, demanding elections, we are sure the government will have to turn back,” another opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said.

Spooked by the opposition’s warning that investment deals bypassing Congress would not be valid, foreign oil companies were closely following the political showdown.

As Venezuela tries to raise funds for bond payments and a reeling economy, it has sought to sell stakes in oil fields.

State oil company PDVSA recently offered Russia’s Rosneft a stake in the Petropiar oil joint venture, sources with knowledge of the proposal told Reuters.

“We want to make perfectly clear to all the oil companies that any strategic alliance (that did not go through Congress) is null,” Borges said on Thursday.

While some investors could see the Supreme Court sentence as giving them the green light to invest, others are increasingly worried about Venezuela’s murky legal framework.

“There is reasonable doubt about the legality of all this,” said a source at a foreign oil company.

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