HomeNewsBriefVenezuela President Maduro Deepens Militarization With Cabinet Shake-Up
BRIEF

Venezuela President Maduro Deepens Militarization With Cabinet Shake-Up

SECURITY POLICY / 23 JUN 2017 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

President Nicolás Maduro's latest reshuffling of cabinet and military command deepens the militarization of Venezuela's government, even as security forces have lost much of their legitimacy due to widespread criminal conduct within their ranks.

Six of the nine new cabinet members appointed by Maduro on June 21 are high-ranking military officers, according to the state news service.

In addition to Gen. Carlos Osorio Zambrano, who will take over as the president's chief of staff, Maduro promoted to civilian office former Army Commander Juan de Jesús García Toussaintt; former Navy Commander Admiral Orlando Maneiro; and Gen. Antonio Benavides Torres, the former chief of the Bolivarian National Guard (Guadia Nacional Bolivariana - GNB), who was previously accused of human rights abuses for his involvement in the repression of demonstrations in 2015.

Current Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino López will also assume the responsibility of vice president for sovereignty (Gobierno para la Soberanía), while Maj. Gen. Luis Motta Domínguez, the current electricity minister, will now additionally serve as vice president for public works.

The outgoing ministers have resigned in order to campaign for seats in Venezuela's upcoming Constituent Assembly, which will be tasked with writing a new constitution.

Earlier this week, Maduro had already reshuffled Venezuela's military command, reportedly placing a more hawkish leadership in charge.

InSight Crime Analysis

The ongoing militarization of the Venezuelan state is worrying, given that the country's security forces have lost much of their legitimacy due to widespread criminal activity within their ranks.

Several new ministers face such suspicion. Gen. Osorio Zabrano, for instance, the newly appointed chief of staff and former food minister, is named in an Associated Press investigation into widespread food trafficking by the military, which was put in charge of food distribution in the country last year. Toussaintt, for his part, may have been involved in a suspected gold and diamond trafficking scheme with stolen government money, according to an ABC investigation.

Meanwhile, Motta is under US investigation for cocaine trafficking, according to the Wall Street Journal. The officer is suspected of belonging to the Cartel of the Suns, a network of corrupt elements within military ranks suspected of controlling Venezuela's sizeable drug trade. Motta also received a vote of no confidence this year from the opposition-controlled National Assembly on suspicion of embezzlement.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

Additionally, the militarization trend does not bode well for the country's high levels of violence. Reports indicate that the government's policy of involving military elements in the fight against crime has engendered repeated cases of extrajudicial killings, while the army has been blamed for protestors' deaths during both current and previous demonstrations.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 13 MAR 2018

US President Donald Trump has announced that current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director…

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 AUG 2017

Another former Venezuelan official now in the United States has accused President Nicolás Maduro's son of drug trafficking, and connected powerful…

COLECTIVOS / 25 JAN 2017

More than one police officer or military soldier was killed per day in Venezuela in 2016, a figure that highlights…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…