Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has appointed a top general as the country’s interior minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
General Nestor Reverol is accused in the US of smuggling cocaine.
His controversial appointment comes a day after Venezuela’s National Electoral Council approved the first step towards a recall referendum against Maduro.
That allows the opposition to begin a second collection of signatures in support of ousting Maduro from power.
Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro said,“I will say it: if the opposition legally obtains the (about 4 million) signatures (needed for a recall referendum), we will go to elections next year and I am sure that the Venezuelan people will hand us a victory of the fatherland, a victory of peace. I am sure that next year, in February, March or April, we will win that referendum.”
The opposition has asked the National Electoral Council to set a deadline for collecting the signatures.
Four million names are needed to advance towards a referendum to recall Maduro’s mandate.
Thousands of opposition protesters blame Maduro for a long recession, triple-digit inflation, and shortages of basic items in the shops.
Maduro blames falling oil prices and what he says is an economic war by opponents.