CARACAS – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has appointed a new Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino López, and announced the removal of army commander Jesús Suárez Chourio.
To take his place, the Venezuelan leader named Alexis Rodríguez Cabello.
“I want to announce that I thank Major General Suárez Chourio for having spent two intense years as commander-in-chief of the Army…,” said the head of state, saying that Suárez Chourio will have important new responsibilities.
During the ceremony of military promotions broadcast by the Venezuelan state television channel, the leader stressed the need to renew to the maximum the institution and command of the national Armed Forces.
Maduro announced that General Fabio Zavarse will occupy the position of commander of the National Guard, replacing Richard López Vargas.
Likewise, he observed that Carlos Leal Tellería will be maintained as minister of Agriculture, but would cease to occupy the position of general commander of the militias, giving rise to General Gregorio Bernal Martínez.
These changes occur just over two months after the coup attempt against Maduro.
During the ceremony, Maduro appealed again to the civic-military union and highlighted the anti-imperialist role of the Armed Forces of Venezuela.
Venezuela is undergoing a political-economic crisis that intensified in January after Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president in an attempt to oust Maduro.
The opposition leader was recognized by the United States, which began to impose sanctions on Venezuela and freeze billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.
The Russian Federation, which recognizes Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela, said the United States is strangling the country with sanctions, in an attempt to drag it to chaos.
Maduro called Guaidó a “puppet of the US” and accused the Americans of orchestrating a coup in Venezuela to force a change of government and claim the vast natural resources of the country.