Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro abruptly replaced his interior minister on Friday, weeks after violent clashes in Caracas which left five people dead.
Defense minister Carmen Melendez was named as Miguel Rodriguez Torres` replacement.
"I want to thank Major General Rodriguez Torres for all his effort over the past 19 months," Maduro said.
The outgoing interior minister had been saddled with the task of tackling Venezuela`s soaring crime rate, which has made the country one of the most violent in the world, according to the United Nations.
Torres Rodriguez`s dismissal comes just a few weeks after a clash in Caracas between police and activists from groups loyal to late president Hugo Chavez which left five people dead.
Army general Vladimir Lopez Padrino becomes defense minister.