Venezuelan President Keeps Key Ministers, Despite Complaints
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ President Carlos Andres Perez on Friday returned to the Cabinet the major players in his free-market program, despite growing criticism of the radical measures.
The appointments followed the mass resignations Thursday of all 20 of Perez’ ministers. They stepped down to let him reshape the new 22-member Cabinet.
However, the new body will include such major figures in the previous Cabinet as Miguel Rodriguez, who returns as planning minister. He is the architect of Venezuela’s program to dismantle the state-run economic system in this nation of 19 million people.
Rodriguez acknowledged a few days ago that Venezuela would not be able to meet initial optimistic projections for this year. Inflation and public deficit will be considerably higher than expected, while economic growth will probably be less than half the original forecast of 4 percent.
Central Bank President Pedro Tinoco, who has clashed publicly with Rodriguez, also remains in the Cabinet.
Also returning are Cabinet are Finance Minister Roberto Pocaterra, Foreign Minister Reinaldo Figueredo, Development Minister Moises Naim and Energy Minister Celestino Armas.
This will be the third Cabinet for the 17-month-old Perez government. The president first rearranged his Cabinet in August 1989, six months after taking office.
He later fired his finance minister. A week ago, the transportation and communications minister, Augusto Faria Viso, resigned over accusations that he solicited a $3.5 million kickback from a French company in exchange for awarding it a $100 million radar equipment contract.
Only eight members of the Cabinet are new. They were inducted at a swearing-in ceremony Friday.
They are: Armando Duran, presidential secretary; Roberto Smith, transport and communiciations; Jesus Moreno Guacaran, justice; Jonathan Coles, agriculture; Vladimir Gessen, tourism; Gerver Torres, Venezuelan Investment Fund; Regulo Villegas, drug control; and Jesus Carmona, executive-congress relations.