Venezuelan soldiers in Caracas, February 2014.
Jorge Silva / Courtesy Reuters

Early this September, during a shakeup of his cabinet, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro made a surprising pick. Rodolfo Marco Torres, his nominee for vice president for the economy,  was a former brigadier general in Venezuela’s army. He had first stepped into politics as head of a state bank in 2005 and had been rising through the civilian ranks since then. Earlier this year, he became minister of finance, and then he made history this past June as the first military officer to join the central bank’s board of directors. Now, after only eight months in the minister’s chair, he will take charge of Venezuela’s battered economy.

Torres is not alone. He is among tens, if not hundreds, of former army officers who have secured high government posts over the past two decades thanks to their loyalty to the late President Hugo Chávez, and his successor,

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe