Venezuela turns to its military to combat food shortages

Venezuela's military is getting a major promotion as the socialist-run country struggles to combat severe shortages and stave off food riots.

President Nicolas Maduro on Monday created a new government initiative to boost production and guarantee the smooth distribution of food supplies in the face of what he called economic sabotage by his opponents. He said the Great Mission of Sovereign Supply will be headed by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, who will coordinate the work of every ministry.

As part of the new campaign, control of the country's five biggest ports was handed to a top military official Tuesday. Maduro said he was tapping army Gen. Efrain Velasco to head the nation's port authority in order to root out corruption and mismanagement at the point of entry for imported food. Previously, the agency had been under civilian control.

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