Philadelphia, July 8, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday a shuffle of the South American nation’s top military commanders in a bid to strengthen the Bolivarian Armed Forces’ organization and preparedness.
“It is necessary to continue building clearly and firmly a new organization of the armed forces in order to guarantee peace [and] territorial integrity, and [ensure] that our motherland is not trampled by the foreign or imperial boot,” he declared during a graduation ceremony for 1,112 junior officers in Caracas.
The commander-in-chief took the opportunity to unveil key changes to the nation’s highest military posts, appointing Admiral Maneiro Gaspar to head the Bolivarian Navy and tapping Major General Benavides Torres to lead the Bolivarian National Guard.
Maduro also announced a complete reshuffling of the commanders of Venezuela’s seven Integral Defense Regions (REDIs), which are the key territorial units charged with organizing the country’s defense on a national level.
In particular, he ordered the splitting of the highly-strategic central REDI–containing the nation’s capital and military command and control hub– into the capital region comprising the states of Vargas, Miranda, and the Capital District as well as the central region that includes the states of Aragua, Carabobo, and Yaracuy.
The South American president additionally reaffirmed in their posts a number of high-level commanders, including the current defense minister, General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, as well as the current heads of the Bolivarian Air Force, the Bolivarian Army, and the Bolivarian Militia.
The announcements come just days after Maduro’s honoring of the Bolivarian Armed Forces on the occasion of Venezuela’s independence day this past July 5.
Speaking at a military parade, the head of state called for “increasing” the nation’s military capacity in order to face down what he termed an “unconventional war” being waged against Venezuela.
“[Venezuela’s] military power has to keep increasing, military power in order to protect the people,” he affirmed.