HAVANA TIMES – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro started the new year by restructuring his cabinet, which now includes Adan Chavez, the brother of the late President Hugo Chavez, and current governor of the Barinas region.
Maduro said the changes will enable his government to embark on the promised recovery and advance of the economy during 2017 and 2018.
The recomposition reaches 10 of the 28 ministries that make up the Executive Cabinet, not counting the vice presidency.
At the ceremony, held in the Cuartel de la Montaña (Mountain garrison), where the remains of President Hugo Chavez rest, the president took the ministers oath.
Maduro appointed the former interior minister and current governor of the state of Aragua, Tarek El Aissami. as the new executive vice president replacing Aristóbulo Istúriz, who moves over to the Ministry of Municipalities.
He asked El Aissami to focus on issues of citizen security and the fight against “right-wing terrorists who buy criminals with money and drugs.”
He also announced the merger of several economic ministers into one, Economy and Finance, where the former legislator and economist Ramón Lobo will be in charge, replacing Rodolfo Medina.
Maduro also named Nelson Martinez the new Minister of Oil and Mining. Martinez held the post of president of the CITGO oil company, which operates in the United States. The outgoing minister, Eulogio Del Pino, will remain in the presidency of the state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
As Minister of Education, he appointed former Foreign Minister and current legislator Elias Jaua, replacing Rodulfo Perez.
The governor of the Barinas region, Adan Chavez, will take over the Ministry of Culture, replacing Freddy Ñáñez.
Deputy Ugbel Roa was appointed Minister of University Education and Science and Technology, replacing former Vice President Jorge Arreaza.
For the Ministry of Labor, Maduro appointed deputy Francisco Torrealba, replacing Oswaldo Vera.
The director of the Clinical Hospital of Caracas, Antonieta Zamora, was designated Minister of Health, replacing Luisana Melo.
As Minister of Ecosocialism and Water, Maduro appointed Air Force Colonel Ramon Velasquez, who will replace Ernesto Piva. The new minister of Public Works and Transportation is Naval Officer Cesar Salazar.
“It is a necessary renewal of cadres, men and women, who will come together to achieve the goals that I have set out for 2017 and 2018,” Maduro said.
He added that the remaining ministers will continue in their responsibilities and carry out their functions.