Arreaza No Longer Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Affairs: President Maduro Reshuffles Cabinet

Caracas, August 19, 2021 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, announced a reshuffling of his cabinet today. The appointment of Ambassador Felix Plasencia as the new minister for foreign affairs, replacing Jorge Arreaza—who held the position for over four years—was the most significant change.

“I have appointed Mr. Felix Plasencia as the new minister for foreign affairs of the Republic,” President Maduro wrote on his Twitter account. “He has the immense responsibility of continuing the excellent diplomatic work carried out by Jorge Arreaza. Let’s make our Peace Diplomacy triumph in the world even more.”

Plasencia is the current Venezuelan ambassador to China. Prior to that Plasencia was Minister for Tourism, and before that he held the post of deputy minister for foreign affairs for Europe. In addition, Plasencia was a member of the government’s delegation in the  first round of Norway talks with the Venezuelan opposition in 2019.

Arreaza, for his part, was appointed as Minister for Industries and National Production, a very important post as Maduro’s administration aims to recover Venezuela’s economy following more that seven years of economic recession and a GDP shrinking by 75% since 2014. Most analysts foresee a stabilization in economic production in 2021, and much-needed GDP growth in 2022, with foreign investments prioritized as stimulators.

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“I appointed Comrade Jorge Arreaza as Minister of Industries and National Production,” wrote Maduro. “With his capacity for work, his intelligence and commitment, we will advance with greater force in the revitalization of the productive forces of la Patria. To produce everything in Venezuela, that is the goal!”

After a successful tenure as the leading Venezuelan diplomat, some analysts see Arreaza’s new appointment as an attempt to give him more internal visibility, possibly to prepare him for greater political challenges.

The announcement by Maduro comes a week after his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) reported the names of winning candidates in the party’s Open Primary Elections. The unprecedented democratic primaries saw grassroots Chavistas taking a leading role nominating candidates in a strategy to secure Chavista victory in a majority of state governments and municipalities in the upcoming regional elections scheduled for November 21.

Through his Twitter account, the Venezuelan president announced the names of individuals who will now lead the different ministries of the country, given that some cabinet members were chosen by the people as candidates for the regional and municipal mega-elections scheduled for November 21.

More cabinet changes
Another important announcement was the appointment of Remigio Ceballos as Minister of Internal Relations, Justice and Peace. Since 2017 Ceballos has been one of the top Venezuelan military commanders, head of the Strategic Operational Command of the Venezuelan National Arm Force (CEOFANB). Many Chavistas viewed his performance at that delicate post as outstanding, taking into consideration all the internal and external attacks Venezuela has faced in recent years.

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“I have appointed Chief Admiral Remigio Ceballos Ichaso as the new Minister for Internal Relations, Justice and Peace, and Vice President of the government for Citizen Security,” announced the head of state. “His experience in the FANB, great ethical and moral capacity, and loyalty to la Patria guarantee stability and peace.”

Another decision was the appointment of Admiral William Serantes Pinto to head the Ministry for Ecological Mining Development, replacing Magaly Henríquez González, whom Maduro thanked for her firmness and dedication.

In social matters, Maduro reported the appointment of Mervin Maldonado as Vice President of the Government for Social and Territorial Socialism, and Yelitze Santaella as Minister for Education, positions that were held by Eduardo Piñate, now a candidate for the governorship of Apure state.

For the Ministry for Women, which was under the leadership of Carolys Pérez, President Maduro appointed Margaud Godoy, who was commissioned to assume “with great responsibility the fight for the rights of women in Venezuela.”

The Head of State stressed that the changes are part of the process of replacing key members of the cabinet who are entering the electoral arena to stand as candidates of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela for the 21N mega-elections.

 

Featured image: Minister Arreaza after being decorated by President Maduro for the battle he gave at the OAS in 2018 against US aggression, in response to Luis Almagro’s attacks. Photo courtesy of MPPRE.

Special for Orinoco Tribune by Jesús Rodríguez Espinoza

JRE/OT/SL

 

 

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza
Editor at Orinoco Tribune | Website | + posts

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is the founder and editor of the Venezuelan progressive website Orinoco Tribune.

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza

Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is the founder and editor of the Venezuelan progressive website Orinoco Tribune.