Maduro's political dominance in Venezuela is widely attributed to support from the military high command, which has allowed the socialist leader to resist sanctions pressure from the United States and a challenge to his authority from opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is backed by Washington.

"I decided, as always, on a partial ratification and a partial renovation of the incredible team of military leaders that run Venezuela's military high command,"  Maduro said at a televised promotion ceremony late Tuesday.

Maduro appointed Major General Domingo Hernandez Larez as the new army commander in place of Major General Alexis Rodriguez Cabello, the cousin of Diosdado Cabello, the president of the Constituent Assembly and widely considered the second most powerful man in Venezuela.

Admiral William Serantes Pinto replaced Admiral Giuseppe Alessandrello as navy commander and Major General Jose Rafael Silva was promoted to head of the air force, replacing Major General Pedro Juliac Lartiguez.

Padrino Lopez, 57, was kept as defense minister, a post he has held since 2014.

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