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Mexican Cabinet Reorganization Announced Ahead of New Year

December 30, 1995

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ President Ernesto Zedillo announced a series of changes in his cabinet late Friday night, fulfilling long-rumored expectations he would undertake a reshuffle by year’s end.

In a faxed statement from the president’s office, Zedillo announced the replacement of his chief spokesman as well as that of the federal comptroller and the minister of energy, among others.

Immediate reaction was not available because of the late hour of the announcement. But in recent weeks, critics had called for Zedillo to make key changes to his cabinet in order to govern more effectively.

The statement said the changes become effective Jan. 1. It did not elaborate on the reasons for the changes, which were also carried by the Mexican state news agency, Notimex.

The official statement said Carlos Salomon Camara was being replaced as presidential spokesman by Carlos Almada Lopez, a ranking official at the Interior Ministry and former executive of the state oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos.

Salomon will direct the national lottery, the announcement added.

Comptroller Norma Samaniego, who was in the spotlight for advancing reforms to tighten controls on federal employees and government spending, will become a presidential adviser, the statement added.

She is being replaced at comptroller by Arsenio Farrell Cubillas, who has held important posts in the Labor Ministry and the Mexican Social Security Institute, according to the statement.

Samaniego led the comptroller’s office during investigations of unexplained wealth allegedly amassed by Raul Salinas de Gortari, a onetime civil servant and the brother of former president Carlos Salinas.

Raul Salinas was imprisoned last February in connection with a 1994 political assassination. He says he is innocent of accusations of murder and of illegal enrichment. His brother was not accused of any crime.

Energy Minister Ignacio Pichardo Pagazo, widely identified with the so-called old guard of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, will be appointed to a future diplomatic post, the statement said.

The state news agency Notimex said his replacement, Jesus Reyes Heroles, has been given a mandate to expand the nation’s energy sector. Reyes Heroles has worked in the national public works bank and in the Foreign and Treasury Ministries.

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