Hugo Chavez Building Personal Army to Put Down Internal Dissent, Aides Claim 120K Fighters Have Been Trained to “Kill Those Gringos”From Weasel Zippers:
Let a Marxist in the door via democratic elections and this what it leads to, authoritarian dictatorship. We should be taking some lessons from Venezuela. . . .
CHARALLAVE, Venezuela — A 54-year-old housewife fires the machine gun for the first time, lets loose a thunderous burst of gunfire and beams with satisfaction. A boot camp instructor shouts, “Kill those gringos!”
Thousands of civilian volunteers in olive-green fatigues are training over the weekend at a Venezuelan army base, where they learn to crawl under barbed wire, fire assault rifles and stalk enemies in combat. Known as the Bolivarian Militia, this spirited group of mostly working-class men and women — from students to retirees — are united by their militant support for President Hugo Chavez and their willingness to defend his government.
From what exactly?
Chavez has repeatedly warned of potential threats: the United States, U.S.-allied Colombia and the Venezuelan “oligarchy,” as he labels opponents. He has called on recruits to be ready to lay down their lives if necessary to battle “any threat, foreign or domestic,” even though Venezuela has never fought a war against another nation.
In the meantime, the militia is a practical tool for Chavez to engage his supporters, rally nationalist fervor and intimidate any opponents who might consider another coup like the one he survived in 2002. One close aide, Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello, said there are already 120,000 in the militia and that it could grow to 200,000.The militia “is a personal army, a Praetorian Guard,” said retired Rear Adm. Elias Buchszer, a Chavez opponent. He said despite Chavez’s talk about repelling a U.S. invasion, the militia is really aimed at maintaining control, keeping him in power, and “making the country fear that if anything is done the militiamen are going to come out."
Labels: Hugo Chavez