Correspondent in Caracas
Vladimir Padrino López has once again taken a turn in the thread that keeps him screwed in his position as Minister for Defense of Venezuela, and is one of the men in whom Nicolás Maduro places his trust. On Wednesday night, the socialist president has ratified Padrino López in his position (appointed in 2014), but has made changes in the military high command, leaving out the operational strategic commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Ceofanb), Remigio Ceballos. The departure of number two from the FANB occurs four months after registering an armed conflict between the Venezuelan army and dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the border state of Apure.
Maduro has unexpectedly appointed the general Domingo Antonio Hernández Larez as the new strategic operational commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), a position that occupies the third echelon in the command line after the president and the defense minister. «Major General Hernández Lárez, you have fulfilled a brilliant, committed and profound work at the service of the Army, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces and our country (…) that is why I am appointing you and promoting you to general in chief (… ) At the same time, he announced his appointment as the new strategic operational commander ”, said Maduro in an act of promotion of officers. In the same way, it has ruled that these changes are “to burst the teeth of imperialism if they dare to touch the land of Venezuela.”
Hernández Lárez served as commander-in-chief of the Bolivarian Army. In July 2019, he was appointed as commander of the Strategic Region of Comprehensive Defense Capital (REDI Capital). «With your designation there is a generational change and new appointments should be made in the military high command, “said the lawyer and president of Social Watch, Rocío San Miguel, on Twitter. By his departure, Ceballos has not commented on the matter. The outgoing soldier is on the list of Chavista officials sanctioned by the United States and the European Union.
Among the changes, Maduro has also announced that the second commander of the Ceofanb will be Juan C. Du Boulay; as commander of the Army, Felix Osorio; in the Navy, José Velázquez Bastidas; Wistohor Chourio was appointed as commander of the militia, while Juvenal Fernández López was appointed as commander of the Bolivarian National Guard. Another to be confirmed in his position was José Rafael Silva Aponte as commander of the Aviation.
Maduro’s announcement takes place shortly after the waters in Apure calmed down, after being the epicenter of bombings in March, a conflict that worsened with the passing of days due to the fighting between the Venezuelan Army and members of the Colombian guerrilla that resulted in 16 dead soldiers and more than 6,000 people displaced to Colombian territory. The Chavista regime has handled this issue lightly, while the NGO FundaRedes has denounced the protection that Maduro has given to the guerrillas, a complaint that has cost the director of the organization his freedom, since last week the regime accused Javier Tarazona of alleged terrorism and incitement to hatred, and keeps him detained at the headquarters of the intelligence service in Caracas.