During the evening of Monday May 16, from Miraflores Palace, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced changes in his cabinet. The statement came just a few days after announcing a plan to offer shares of up to 10% in strategic publicly owned companies on the Caracas stock exchange, for local and international investors, an attempt to finance these companies amid the economic strangulation inflicted by the US and European blockade.
President Maduro appointed Francisco Torrealba as new minister of labor, Hipólito Abreu as new minister of industries and national production, Ramón Velásquez Araguayán as Venezuela’s new minister of transport, and Carlos Farías as the new minister of foreign affairs.
President Maduro also reported that the economic indicators for the first quarter of 2022 are “highly encouraging.” He stated that there is a “false debate” on social networks about the country’s economy, and called for hard work to consolidate the first symptoms of real economic recovery.
• Francisco Torrealba is currently deputy, union leader of the Caracas Metro, member of the International Federation of Workers, and a close ally of President Maduro. The outgoing minister José Ramón Rivero was appointed on May 2, 2021. No comment was made about new roles for Rivero.
• Hipólito Abreu, current Minister for Transportation, will now work alongside the Vice President for Economy, Tareck El Aissami, President Maduro said. “I will be in charge of the CVG (Corporación Venezolana de Guayana), Minister Hipólito, especially with the investments that are going to arrive now as a result of the measures I took. You take care of the national industry,” said President Maduro after appointing Abreu new minister for national production. The outgoing minister Juan Arias was appointed as head of this ministry less than a month ago, on April 22. Maduro did not make any comments about his future responsibilities.
• Ramón Velásquez Araguayán is the current president of Conviasa, the state-owned airline. “He has taken Conviasa to the highest level of development ever seen,” said President Maduro. “He is a man with a modern, technological mindset.”
• Carlos Faría, current ambassador to Russia, “knows very well the entire geopolitical environment of the struggle for a multipolar and multicentric world,” President Maduro said. “He knows active diplomacy very well, diplomacy of peace.” The head of state thanked the outgoing ministers for their efforts, and pointed out that Félix Plasencia, outgoing foreign minister, will go on to new responsibilities that are “very important for the development of the Venezuelan international economy, in a place that is the epicenter for the country’s growth.”
Venezuela has been repaired
On the economic issue, Maduro pointed out that economic indicators for the first four months of 2022 are “highly encouraging.” He mentioned that last Thursday’s announcements regarding the placement of shares of public companies in the stock exchange have been very positive, and that “there are hundreds of investors” ready to acquire the shares.
He also commented on the “false debate” on social media: “What if Venezuela has been fixed, some people say. I see the eyes of good intention—beautiful people, especially the youth, with the great hope that we will improve, advance. They say that Venezuela has been fixed. Then the usual haters come out, the same right [wing], the same opposition with new faces, on Tik Tok, on Instagram, saying ‘it hasn’t been fixed!’ And they make negative videos, always with envy.”
“That’s not the debate, friend.” Maduro said. “The debate is how are we going to consolidate these first symptoms of recovery, of the real economy of Venezuela. That is the discussion. What must be done to improve the income of the people, to improve the wealth of the country, to improve food production, industrial production, the supply of products, public services, to stabilize the exchange system, and that works perfectly, to continue beating inflation? The debate is: what should we do to consolidate what we have already achieved? Which is a first stage of economic recovery, ostensible, concrete, real, verifiable.”
“ECLAC [Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean] said that Venezuela is going to be the country that will grow the most in Latin America and the Caribbean,” added President Maduro. “Amen. We all have to put ourselves on the line to work for the improvement of Venezuela. If Venezuela improves, it is good for everyone.”
He also denounced some organizations and individuals who want to “shoot the recovery,” referring specifically to the chamber of commerce Fedecámaras Zulia, which in his opinion has been issuing announcements and statements reminiscent of the April 2002 coup. The president asked that no one try to harm the gradual pace of recovery in the country: “we are reviewing everything: decisions, new actions taken to promote investments in the country, exports…”
Alert for plots from Colombia
The president also reported that the sectors working to combat criminal gangs and plans from Colombia were reviewed from the communicational, logistical, and operational point of view.
Maduro asked the police and military forces to be vigilant, and denounced a plan from Colombia, paid for by the president of that country, Iván Duque, who has hired criminals to attack police and military centers with bombs and grenades, to try to destabilize Venezuela. He asked the police and military to be very vigilant.
He also pointed out that the situation due to the rains in Trujillo, Mérida, Táchira, and other states is being addressed.
Calls to investigate the Trump-Guaidó meetings revealed in Mark Esper’s book
The president also referred to the information recently published by Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, based on a recently published book by Mark Esper, US Secretary of Defense during the government of Donald Trump. In the book, A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times, Esper details Trump’s meetings with Juan Guaidó, including plans to invade Venezuela with US troops directly from Colombia, or to depose or assassinate him with a special operation.
President Maduro asked the president of the National Assembly, Jorge Rodríguez, to open an investigation in Parliament “on these statements by Donald Trump’s former Secretary of Defense. They spoke about invading Venezuela, about killing the president and other ministers, and leaders of the country.”
Featured image: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Presidential Press.
(Alba Ciudad ) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune