Maduro’s first cabinet: the more things change, the more they stay the same

Check out my brand new podium!

“Hey, guys: Check out my brand new podium right here! It has the word PRESIDENT. IN CAPS!.”

Nicolás Maduro presented last night the list of ministers that will join him in his “government team”in cadena nacional.

The full list is composed of at least more than thirty ministers. There are changes, but major figures will keep their jobs.

Jorge Giordani is still Planning Minister, but his Ministry was split in half, and all public finances will be now handled by the Central Bank President Nelson Merentes.

One important annoucement was the exit of Néstor Reverol as Interior Minster. The head of the Venezuelan Intelligence Service (SEBIN) Miguel Rodriguez Torres replaces him and the Ministry will now be known as “Ministry of Interior, Justice and Peace”. Reverol will continue working in the Ministry, as chief of Venezuela’s Anti-Drug Office (ONA).

Elías Jaua was ratified as Foreign Minister and this makes me wonder how he can do this and his other job as “Protector of Miranda” at the same time. Other people confirmed include Admiral Diego Molero in Defense, Rafael Ramírez in Energy and Oil, Iris Varela in Prisons, Ricardo Molina in Housing, and Ernesto Villegas in Communication & Information.

But there were other changes: Former Information Minister Andres Izarra returns, this time as Tourism Minister, while Jesse Chacon will run the Electricity Minister (really? A “pollster” is now in charge of our electrical grid? Genius!). The curious note was the naming of former fencer Alejandra Benítez as the new Sports Minister.

Finally, Maduro created a new political-administrative figure: the Integral Development Regions (REDI), somewhat inspired by the Regional Vice-Presidencies proposed by the late comandante presidente in the rejected constitutional reform of 2007, undermining descentralization even further. Six “general coordinators” will lead these new regions but most of them are former ministers themselves, which doesn’t bring much confidence.

Already weakened politically by the recent election result, Maduro has decided to enlarge the bureaucracy (now we have SIX Vice-Presidents!) and basically keeping the same inefficient people with him out of loyalty. Meanwhile, political allies like the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) were left out of the loop.

47 thoughts on “Maduro’s first cabinet: the more things change, the more they stay the same

  1. The new Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Gil, has wonderful recent experience that must have been pivotal in his naming including the destruction of INIA, the nation’s institute of agricultural research, and the looting of Agro Islena, now Agro Patria. INIA’s downfall was so complete that their Maracay station, which includes farmland for field research, next to the UCV ag school, does not even have a working tractor!


  2. Now announcing the Ministry of Efficiency which will oversee and improve the Ministry of Competency which oversees the Ministry of Proficiency!


  3. That shirt is faux military and does not give him an image of a heroic soldier dedicated to Venezuela. It makes his stomach look big. Maybe it is a Cuban style shirt?

    Raoul made all the appointments. Maduro is just the Cubans press secretary.


  4. I hear that the new minister of health is actually qualified for the job.

    That may have just been an oversight on their part…


      • I’ve known Isabel Iturria since we both were teenagers. She is quite sweet and really qualified (she is a brilliant woman), but she is also absolutely and completely blinded by her faith on the process. She even was in one of the TV adds when the Constitutional Referendum. I really appreciate her, but I’m convinced that she lost her mind somewhere along the line…


          • Well, Mr. Nagel… If you saw a woman you know to be really bright in a political add supporting the Constitutional Reform Chávez proposed saying: “¡No te equivoques!”, then her “side” losing it, then accepting it legalized “por los caminos verdes”, and then accepting to be Health Secretary of a guy as mediocre as “Ni-con-cola”, and you are aware of the fact that she has lost almost all of her childhood friends, old high-school pals and college classmates (I know that for a fact) to be where she i , surely some alarm bell would ring on your head too, wouldn’t it?

            I said she lost “her mind” because she became blind (as you and Mr. Toro are becoming, day by day, more blind to anything but your own “criteria”, not taking on account, not even each other’s opinions -a “struggle for power over CC” that is every day more evident, by the way-, but the honest observations of people like Syd, who have followed you since the start of this adventure, and have made valid points that you both disregarded with the flair becoming the “Old White Males” you have turned into), you would, surely, hear a bell, too. Won’t you? Aren’t you hearing it? “Ding-a-ling-dong-bell”, to quote “The Tempest”…

            The fact that there was NO support to your “live-blog” on April the 14th is, I think, more than a proof of what I am saying…

            She is not “crazy”, but “crazed”. It’s not the same thing. She has become an extremist, By her own desire to “save and serve” people (so common in the medical profession). I would trust her to be my cardiologist… but I’m not sure about her “sanity” in other matters…

            As I’m not sure of the purpose of this site anymore. From ivory towers, so distant from Venezuela it would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic and pathetic, you and Mr. Toro say whatever you like, and never see how far away from the “perol” you are taking the pee…

            De hecho, creo que no saben, “desde” esas alturas en las que se “sienten” ahora, ni de vaina, dónde carrizo quedó el perol en el que están meando…

            The “craziness” is on both sides of the spectrum. And CC has become so one-sided that, for a while, you were “Aporrea for escuálidos”… and lost half your followers…

            Again, I would trust Isabel Iturria to treat my heart without any doubt whatsoever, but neither Mr. Toro nor you with a telephone number…

            ¡Tá dicho!

            Is that enough, or should I take a virtual “cacerola” to do a “ringing endorsement” of this dying site?


            • Hehehe

              “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d/Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d.”

              So I have to admit that I can’t quote ad lib from the Tempest (we are not all deeply immersed in Shakespeare I believe?) so I looked it up.
              Top result from google:


              The actual extended quote from the Tempest:

              “Full fathom five thy father lies;
              Of his bones are coral made;
              Those are pearls that were his eyes:
              Nothing of him that doth fade,
              But doth suffer a sea-change
              Into something rich and strange.
              Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong
              Hark! now I hear them,—Ding-dong, bell.”
              ― William Shakespeare, The Tempest

              Quico and JC sure can’t catch a break these days!


            • please, dear In Venezuela, do not mention my name in association with Isabel Iturria. And know that I pay little mind to the periodic outbursts from Toro and Nagel. As I’ve always said, the biggest value of this blog, for me, is in the community of commenters — a value that Toro once tried to squash and discredit. That said, this community would never have materialized without the contribution from Nagel and principally from Toro, a few hissy fits and “aren’t-I-clever” pirouettes, notwithstanding. #EsLoQueHay
              Grateful ,too, for GEHA and Duarte’s in-Venezuela contributions.


    • The problems is not so much whether she’s qualified but whether her idiology and party discipline takes precedence over whatever qualifications she might have. My sense is that her qualifications will take the back seat.


        • There have been some well qualified ministers in the past. It seems to be more of an occuaptional hazard, knowing what you are doing …


          • Q: How do you know a chavista minister is actually competent in the area covered by their office?

            A: No one listens to them.


            • The joke is quite good, but… have you seen Nicolás’ campaign video, the one where he was reading “twits” supporting him? As he doesn’t know how to read fast, he read one that said: “Nicolás, nadie te está parando bolas”. According to the joke, that would make him the most competent of the government… a quite disturbing thought…


  5. Out of 30 names only 2 or 3 (secondary ministers) are hardworking, qualified people. The most important ministerios are still managed by corrupt people. “mas de lo mismo”


    • Merentes (a pragmatist) will be an improvement on the Monk, who at least it can be said was hard working and not corrupt.


    • The economist in my is crying. Let us never forget that she is one of the creators of the current “Ley de Costos.” I wonder if someone is already working on socialist-reusable-environmentally-friendly toilet paper for Venezuelans to enjoy …


    • Relative worked for her in China. Told me of some docs she wanted him to sign regarding some loans BANDES was making.

      When he refused, she threatened to fire him for not being with “el proceso” and then signed them herself.

      Days later we start hearing of problems with the loans, which then get cancelled and the whole thing swept under the rug before it gets public.

      Relative still in China, still with BANDES, and relieved that Edmee no longer there.


    • Jaua will have to get behind Kim Jong-Un in the “tinpot thugs with delusions of grandeur” queue.


  6. Boy, 30 ministers, nooooo chance that there will be some conflicts.
    I especially love this:
    Ministerio de Electricidad: Jesse Chacón.
    Comandante Estratégico de Energía Eléctrica: Wilmer Barrientos.
    Have a problem with the grid? Put two ministers on the job!


  7. The ‘new’ gabinet tells us a lot of things.
    1.- There is really a dearth of talent among top chavistas , the same names keep cropping up again and again in an endless game of musical chairs . the same old faces appearing repeatedly in different ministries. ,
    2.- Lots of posts appear to have been apportioned thinking less of who can do a better job and more about how do we get all different chavista factions sattisfied by giving them a piece of the action .
    3.- Failed ministers are given new fancy sounding jobs and titles to soften their fall from real power , e.g. Giordani no longer runs the regimes finances Merentes does , that explains the lavish praise heaped on the old gizzard ‘you’re no good but we love you’.
    4.- Double layering ministerial authority and functions is an invitation for organizational disaster, which suggests that they do it to keep all chavista factions happy whatever the consequences .
    5.- They really think that by having many different ministries with long kitshy pompous names they can do a better job than the miserable job they ve done so far ! They believe that words have the power of talismans if they are sufficiently fancy. Poor Sods!!


    • Another motive behind this craziness is to mud the track and to make it much more complex to carry out any type of control on spending. The are more Actos in the Gaceta oficial, announcing the creation, merging, spin out etc of new cabinet posts (and all the associated levels of bureaucracy), with each new ministry.

      Its not clear where the boundaries of actin and responsability lie in all the creation/ destruction activity, and it buries trillions of $$$ in presupuestos ordinarios y creditos adicionales to each new body.

      Makes it really uphill to compare performance metrics year over year, because of the changes in the base, all is geared towards tramparencia my friends


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