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In Venezuela Five key figures in President Maduro's push to change country's constitution

Maduro has said rewriting the constitution is necessary to end the political instability gripping the country and months of street protests that have left more than 100 people dead.

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Venezuela holds a vote Sunday to elect a 545-member assembly to rewrite the constitution play

Venezuela holds a vote Sunday to elect a 545-member assembly to rewrite the constitution

(Venezuelan Presidency/AFP)
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Venezuela holds a vote Sunday to elect a 545-member assembly to rewrite the constitution. The opposition has slammed the move as a blatant attempt by President Nicolas Maduro to cling to power and promised to boycott it.

Maduro has said rewriting the constitution is necessary to end the political instability gripping the country and months of street protests that have left more than 100 people dead.

Five heavyweights in his government will play a key role in drafting the new document:

Cabello, the scourge

Lawmaker Diosdado Cabello, 54, serves as vice president of the Socialist Party of Venezuela play

Lawmaker Diosdado Cabello, 54, serves as vice president of the Socialist Party of Venezuela

(AFP/File)

Diosdado Cabello, the 54-year-old vice president of the Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and former speaker of the national assembly. He is a lawmaker in parliament, which is dominated by the center-right opposition coalition.

In his weekly TV show "Hitting with the Sledge Hammer," Cabello sarcastically refers to the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, whose acronym in Spanish is MUD, as "the quagmire."

At a recent rally, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz introduced Cabello as "the scourge of the squalid ones," a derogatory term used by late president Hugo Chavez to refer to the opposition.

As an army lieutenant, Cabello first won a place at the heart of Chavez's power structure by joining his failed 1992 coup attempt against then president Carlos Andres Perez.

When the opposition carried out their own unsuccessful coup against Chavez in 2002, Cabello, who was serving as vice president, was briefly head of state when the uprising managed to lock Chavez up before the armed forces stepped in and freed him.

Flores, the first combatant

Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores was dubbed "the first combatant" rather than "first lady" by the president when they finally married in 2013, after two decades together play

Venezuelan First Lady Cilia Flores was dubbed "the first combatant" rather than "first lady" by the president when they finally married in 2013, after two decades together

(AFP/File)

Cilia Flores, a 60-year-old lawyer, is Maduro's wife and was dubbed "the first combatant" rather than "first lady" by the president when they finally married in 2013, after two decades together.

She is currently a deputy in the assembly and was one of Chavez's lawyers when he was jailed after the 1992 coup attempt.

During Chavez's 1999-2013 presidency, she held numerous senior government and party posts, including speaker of the national assembly -- a position she took over from her husband -- and attorney general.

She was plunged into a scandal in 2015 when two of her nephews were arrested by the US Drug Enforcement Agency in Haiti on charges of trying to smuggle 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of cocaine into the United States.

Rodriguez, belligerent ex-FM

Delcy Rodriguez served as Maduro's foreign minister from 2014 until June 2017, a period marked by rising tensions with the United States and a number of other Latin American governments, as well as with Spain and the Organization of American States play

Delcy Rodriguez served as Maduro's foreign minister from 2014 until June 2017, a period marked by rising tensions with the United States and a number of other Latin American governments, as well as with Spain and the Organization of American States

(AFP/File)

Delcy Rodriguez, a 48-year-old lawyer, served as Maduro's foreign minister from 2014 until June 2017, a period marked by rising tensions with the United States and a number of other Latin American governments, as well as with Spain and the Organization of American States.

Under her tutelage, Caracas withdrew from the OAS in April this year and Rodriguez blamed the OAS head, Luis Almagro, for the growing violence in her country.

She had formerly held the post of minister for presidential affairs under Chavez, and minister for communications and information.

She is the daughter of a Communist leader who was assassinated 1976 and the sister of Jorge Rodriguez, a powerful official and mayor of the Caracas district of Libertador.

Chavez, the big brother

Adan Chavez, elder brother of late president Hugo Chavez, was minister of culture and education and is governor of the southwestern state of Barinas play

Adan Chavez, elder brother of late president Hugo Chavez, was minister of culture and education and is governor of the southwestern state of Barinas

(AFP/File)

The elder brother of the iconic late president, Adan Chavez, 64, was minister of culture and education and is governor of the southwestern state of Barinas, where the Chavez family hails from, and has has served as ambassador to Cuba.

A physicist and professor of mathematics who looks a lot like his late brother, he was a member of left-wing and revolutionary movements in his youth and is one of the founders of Venezuela's Socialist Party.

Late last year, opposition lawmakers made accusations of shady dealings in the governance of Barinas state. A state court banned newspapers from publishing any of the corruption allegations until the charges had been officially submitted to the justice department.

Carreno, incendiary lawmaker

Deputy Pedro Carreno, of the ruling party, has authored numerous legal cases initiated by the government against the opposition play

Deputy Pedro Carreno, of the ruling party, has authored numerous legal cases initiated by the government against the opposition

(AFP/File)

Pedro Carreno, 56, is a politician, ex-soldier and lawyer who served as interior minister from 2007-2008. He has served as a deputy in the national assembly since 2000.

Known for his florid and often insulting broadsides against the opposition, he once called Henrique Capriles, an opposition leader and governor of Miranda state, "a faggot."

Capriles had accused him of being forced out of the army for corruption.

Years earlier, in 2007, when Carreno was denouncing the evils of capitalism to a press gathering, one of the reporters asked if he was not being contradictory, since he was wearing a Louis Vuitton bow tie at the time. Carreno angrily cut short the briefing.

The author of numerous legal cases initiated by the government against the opposition, he most recently launched a case against attorney general Luisa Ortega, who broke ranks with her Socialist comrades, calling her "crazy" and "bipolar."

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