Diosdado Cabello, a prominent Venezuelan politician and close aide to late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, was sworn in as the new president of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) on Tuesday.

Venezuelan strongman Diosdado Cabello, left, with President Nicolas Maduro

Cabello, who serves as the vice president of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), takes over the powerful lawmaking body from Delcy Rodriguez, who was appointed as the nation’s vice president last week.

In his first address as the ANC president, Cabello urged fellow assembly members to get close to the grassroots to better serve the people.

“Let’s go into the streets … Let the people tell us what they want to tell. Let’s put ourselves at the service of the people,” Cabello said.

The ANC, an elected body tasked with drafting a new Constitution, still has a lot of work to do, especially to fulfill Chavez’s vision of Venezuelan-style socialism, he said.

“We owe a large debt to the commander, and that is the construction of the communes,” he said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday “a partial and profound renewal” of his cabinet, making 12 new appointments, among whom seven are female.

Since Maduro was re-elected to a second term in May, he has pursued a policy of renewal and reconciliation between supporters of the PSUV and the conservative opposition coalition.

Some 80 prisoners serving sentences for politically motivated violent crimes have received pardons.

Last week, the US confiscated US$800 million from Diosdado Cabello, and deported his daughter. Miami journalist Oscar Haza reported Tuesday, Juune 12, during his morning radio show on Miami’s Spanish-language Zeta 92.3, the U.S. government froze about US$800 million in assets from Cabello.

Haza, who said his information came from “important sources” in the Trump administration, also said that Cabello’s daughter, Daniella Cabello, was turned away when she flew to the United States and was put on a plane to Caracas.

Article originally appeared on Today Venezuela and is republished here with permission.

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