Very few changes in the new Cabinet announced by Maduro tonight. Nelson Merentes moves to the Ministry of Finance, a post he held in 2001 and 2004. He was later President of the Venezuelan Central Bank. Giordani stays in Planning, so that Maduro went the conservative route, splitting the two Ministries. Jesse Chacón is back, as Minister for Electric Energy. He has held at least four Ministries, I lost count. He was also pollster for the Government recently, predicting a 9% Maduro win. Andres Izarra is Minister for Tourism, he is also back to a new Cabinet post. The Head of the intelligence agency SEBIN, becomes Minister of the Interior. The Minister of Health is removed and replaced by Isabel Iturria, the President of the Children’s Cardiological Hospital. And in the Ministry for Sports (picture above), the former Olympian and model Alejandra Benitez.
Maduro shows he either can’t change much or does not know how to. There is still no trained economist in the Cabinet. We thought there would be one. Merentes in Finance is probably good for the Government’s foreign exchange policy, as he is known to be more pragmatic, but bad for debt, as he is likely to restart issuing debt internationally.