Cuba on Monday named Vice Admiral Julio Cesar Gandarilla to the powerful post of Interior Minister , replacing Fernandez Godin, who died on Friday at the age of 78.

Gandarilla had served as head of the department of counter-intelligence for 16 years, becoming the First Deputy Interior Minister in 2015, according to a brief government statement broadcast by state-run television on Monday evening. He is also a member of the Communist Party Central Committee and National Assembly.

The Interior Ministry oversees the police, the state security apparatus and counter-intelligence, among other duties.

Gandarilla is the third man to hold the key post in less than two years.

Godin had replaced Abelardo Colome in October 2015 after the latter resigned for health reasons.