Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has named Tareck El Aissami, a powerful drug kingpin, to head up the socialist government-controlled oil ministry. He also named Asdrubal Chavez, cousin of Hugo Chavez, to run the state-run oil giant PDVSA.

Venezuela sits atop an ocean of oil with the largest proven reserves in the world. But production has declined 65 percent over the last two years, causing massive shortages of gasoline.

Previously, the director of PDVSA and oil minister was Gen. Manuel Quevedo, a Maduro loyalist with not much else to recommend him.

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