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Venezuelan president names two generals to key posts

Chavez vows more raids on industries that support strike

New army chief Jorge Garcia Carneiro helps Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez prepare for his weekly TV and radio show Sunday.
New army chief Jorge Garcia Carneiro helps Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez prepare for his weekly TV and radio show Sunday.

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CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) -- Embattled Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appointed two retired generals to key posts Sunday as an opposition-led oil industry strike, intended to force Chavez from office, entered its eighth week with no end in sight.

Chavez also threatened military raids on food producers who participate in the strike, which has crippled oil output and brought Venezuela's economy to a standstill. The country is facing severe shortages of gasoline, flour and bottled drinks, including milk, soft drinks and water.

"There are some businesspeople who have thought about it, who have made their products available to the consumers," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio show "Hello President." "Those who refuse, those who resist, can rest assured that today, tomorrow or beyond, we will search their warehouses, their storerooms. If they don't want to open, we will open them."

The statement comes after the national guard, on Chavez' orders, took over a Coca-Cola distribution plant Friday in the state of Carabobo. Officials said the army will turn over the products it seized to the state consumer protection agency, Indecu, which is then to distribute Coca-Cola to stores.

The move came after the country's superior court of agricultural affairs ruled that the government can take over facilities necessary to keep basic goods flowing.

Chavez said during the program Sunday that he was appointing retired Gen. Lucas Rincon as his new interior minister and Gen. Jorge Garcia Carneiro as the new chief of the army. Both men are considered loyal generals who have proven their staunch support for Chavez.

Rincon, who retired as defense minister in July, was also a former army chief of staff. Carneiro replaces Gen. Julio Garcia, who was named to the post in April after Chavez withstood a military coup attempt.

-- CNN producer Penny Mannis and correspondent Diana Muriel contributed to this report.

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