Chavez announces changes to Cabinet

Chavez announces changes to Cabinet

CARACAS – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced changes to his Cabinet Wednesday, replacing both his vice president and the justice minister with close allies.

Chavez said, however, that Rafael Ramirez would hold on to the key posts of oil minister and president of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA. Speaking in a late-night telephone interview with the state TV channel, Chavez said that Jorge Rodriguez – a former journalist and close confidant who has been appointed to several key government posts since Chavez took office in 1999 – will replace Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel.”The decision to relieve Jose Vicente was not easy for me because he’s like one of those star pitchers,” Chavez said.Justice Minister Jesse Chacon will be replaced by a ruling party lawmaker, Pedro Carreno, Chavez said.”Starting today, they have begun working and meeting,” Chavez said.He did not elaborate on what would become of Rangel or Chacon.Chavez, who won re-election in December, is set to be sworn in on Jan.10 to a new term ending in 2013.Nampa-APSpeaking in a late-night telephone interview with the state TV channel, Chavez said that Jorge Rodriguez – a former journalist and close confidant who has been appointed to several key government posts since Chavez took office in 1999 – will replace Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel.”The decision to relieve Jose Vicente was not easy for me because he’s like one of those star pitchers,” Chavez said.Justice Minister Jesse Chacon will be replaced by a ruling party lawmaker, Pedro Carreno, Chavez said.”Starting today, they have begun working and meeting,” Chavez said.He did not elaborate on what would become of Rangel or Chacon.Chavez, who won re-election in December, is set to be sworn in on Jan.10 to a new term ending in 2013.Nampa-AP

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