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Venezuelan governor, former defense minister, dies

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan state governor who once served as defense minister for former President Hugo Chavez has died, officials said Saturday.

Gen. Jorge Luis García Carneiro was 69. The death was confirmed in a string of tweets from senior officials, including President Nicolás Maduro, who called him “a friend, a brother for life.”

No cause was listed and García Carneiro himself had been active on social media sites in recent days, giving no sign of problems. He appeared with Maduro at an event on Thursday.

The general served as defense minister from January 2004 to July 2005 and also held other cabinet posts, as well as serving as governor of La Guaira state since 2008 for the governing socialist party.

He was among four Venezuelan governors sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in February 2019 for alleged “endemic corruption” and blocking humanitarian aid shipments backed by the U.S. and domestic opposition.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

The Associated Press