Mérida, 10th January 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has appointed several new ministers to his cabinet in a bid to “renovate” his government.
New ministers have been appointed for the areas of Labour, Industry, Education, Higher Education, Sport, Youth and the Chief of Staff.
Maduro confirmed yesterday that all ministers had offered their posts to him for his consideration, and that the appointments were part of “the renovation of this government in the year that is beginning”.
The new labour minister is Jesus Martinez, a former union activist and co-founder of the “Jesus Rivero” Bolivarian Workers’ University. He also helped draft the country’s new Labour Law, implemented in May last year.
Maduro said Martinez’s task was to focus on “educating the working class in the construction of socialism”.
Former Chief of Staff Wilmer Barrientos is now industries minister, with Maduro ordering that he “give a push to investment and the economic development of Venezuela”.
Likewise, the new higher education minister, Ricardo Menendez (who was the industries minister), was asked to “align Bolivarian university education with the great needs of Venezuela’s scientific and technological development”.
President Maduro appointed former professional baseball player and mayoral candidate Alvaro “El Potro” Alvarez to be the sport minister, with the mission to make sport an “instrument of peace”.
The other new ministers were Hector Rodriguez (education), Victor Clark (youth), and Hugo Cabezas (chief of staff).
The reshuffle comes as government policy focuses more greatly on the issue of citizen security following the murder of former Miss Venezuela Monica Spears and her ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry on Monday.
The murders caused a national reaction and have led to renewed attention on violent crime in Venezuela. According to United Nations statistics from 2011, the country’s homicide rate is among among the highest in the Americas.
Yesterday Maduro appointed new heads to the intelligence service (Sebin), military counter-intelligence, and the presidential guard. On Wednesday he also designated a new chief of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) and a new rector to the National Experimental University of Security (UNES), which trains the PNB.
In a speech broadcast nationally yesterday afternoon the Venezuelan head of state said that a new citizen security plan, which he called a Plan for National Pacification, would be ready for implementation by 8 February.
He also called on police, authorities and social organisations to redouble efforts to guarantee citizen security.
“Police forces need to have maximum police discipline, military discipline. Maximum discipline, maximum cohesion, maximum effort, maximum dedication,” Maduro said.
He continued, “This is about bringing peace to homes, communities, cities, towns; to all Venezuela”.
Justice and interior affairs minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres also reported yesterday that regulations for the implementation of the disarmament law passed last summer had been drafted and were ready for the president’s attention. The Disarmament Commission of the National Assembly hopes to discuss and publish the regulations within 90 days.