June 7 (UPI) — Argenis Chávez, the brother of late former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, has been sworn in as the governor of the Barinas state after his predecessor stepped down.
Zenaida Gallardo, who had been governor since Jan. 5, said she stepped down due to medical reasons. Her predecessor was another of Chávez’s brothers, Adán.
Argenis Chávez assumed the position on Tuesday through a rule that allows a state’s interior minister to take the governorship if he or she steps down.
During a speech after he was inducted, Argenis Chávez said he would never again let political ideologies that oppose the late president’s “Bolivarian revolution” rule in his state because “the children of Bolivar and Chávez are willing to give their lives to defend the revolutionary process.”
More than 60 people have died in more than two months of nearly daily protests in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government and the opposition accuse one another of being responsible for the chaos.
Though there have been some demonstrations in support of President Nicolas Maduro‘s regime, most are anti-government demonstrations decrying the country’s economic collapse under Maduro’s government and what the opposition says is the deterioration of democracy and the violent repression of peaceful protesters at the hands of Venezuelan security forces.
Argenis Chávez is expected to remain as governor until at least December, when gubernatorial and regional elections are expected to be held after a yearlong delay. The Venezuelan opposition is demanding Maduro’s regime release an election schedule.
However, elections could be further curtailed because Maduro has called for Venezuela’s Constitution to be rewritten.