Chavez fires justice minister

Venezuela's president says decision was prompted by recent prison violence.

    Sixteen people died in the prison riots [AFP]
    To compound those killings, six prisoners transferred from Uribana after the violence were shot and stabbed to death on being moved to a new prison.
     
    "It is the result of failings in internal security and infrastructure," Chavez told state television.
     
    Chacon will be replaced by Pedro Carreno, a Chavez loyalist who heads a parliamentary judicial commission and who played a leading role in the president's re-election campaign last month.
     
    Leftist revolution
     
    Chavez gave no reason for removing Rangel, who has often been one of the toughest advocates of the president's self-styled leftist revolution.
     
    "The decision to relieve Jose Vicente of his post was not easy for me because he is like a star pitcher and I regard him with the same respect and affection as a son would a father," Chavez said.
     
    Rangel will be replaced by Jorge Rodriguez, a Chavez ally who served as a director of the country's electoral commission during a heated recall referendum against the president in 2004.
     
    Rodriguez, a psychiatrist, is idolised by many of Chavez's followers because of his father, who died after being tortured by the army for alleged involvement with a left-wing guerrillas in the 1970s.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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