Military training for leaders of social movements in Venezuela.
The goal of the government is to reach one hundred thousand militiamen in October, with 22 training centers in 117 territorial axes of the capital.
By Marco Teruggi
Caracas takes the form of a trench. In ten days one thousand seven hundred men and women have received instructions for its defense. The objective is to reach one hundred thousand in the month of October, with training centers in the twenty-two parishes to cover the one hundred and seventeen territorial axes of the capital: the city will be a trap for coup plotters (or foreign troops).
The first training space is located south of the city, in Macarao. Here the right burned the headquarters of the communal organization on April 30, while the cameras focused on Juan Guaidó, Leopoldo López and the handful of soldiers in the failed action. Leaders of social movements, Chavismo grassroots organizations, people of all ages participate in this training day, for whom it is the first time they have held a rifle or learned territory recognition techniques. Nobody has forced them to come: they are humble people, from the organized barrios, from the daily struggle that has been transformed into a battle for gas, prices or transportation.
The training has several parts, such as learning how to make maps of the neighborhood, mobilize with weapons, health techniques, evacuation, personal defense, physical exercises. The instructors are members of the Bolivarian Militia, the body made up of more than two and a half million men and women, a vertebral part of the so-called doctrine of integral defense of the nation. At the head of the political leadership of the training plan is the leadership of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
“Caracas is a city of peace, a city of life, and we are going to defend it with the organization of our people, the civic-military union, and with the preparation and intelligence that we are developing in this effort of integral formation”, explains the mayor of the Libertador municipality of Caracas, Erika Farías, member of the PSUV and the Francisco de Miranda Front.
The training work includes several actors: the PSUV, the allied parties, the social, communal movements, the members of the National Constituent Assembly. The objectives are three. In the first place, the organization of defense through the design and execution of a plan in a unified way among the different actors, in order to form a nucleus in each territory. Second, the exercises as such. Third, the productive effort, where the goal is for each of the twenty-two parishes to have a food training and production center.
“All Venezuelans have co-responsibility in the defense of the country, it is written in article 326 of the Constitution. It is not only a matter of armament, we are going to create a very important logistical chain, for each combatant that is formed here there must be eight or nine people behind, the instruction must continue, in each territory all the components must be aligned for integral defense”, explains Colonel Boris Iván Berroterán de Jesús, commander of the integral defense area 414 Caricuao.
The training exercises seek to respond to two main hypotheses of conflict. The first is already known, it is about the actions that the right has carried out in 2013, 2014, 2017 and earlier this year: attacks on local Psuv, communes, health centers, children, Chavista leaders, nocturnal actions, provocation and attempts to chaotize popular areas. The right has done a job of infiltration and recruitment of armed groups for several years, to disrupt the daily life of the popular territories and be able to deploy them in moments of confrontation.
The second hypothesis responds to a scenario that has been denounced by the government: the possibility that the right resorts to the strategy of mercenary forces composed of different actors, such as paramilitaries, criminal gangs, private contractors. In a picture of these characteristics, the Caracas territories, their overpopulated hills in forms of labyrinths with ladders and platforms, could be spaces of irregular confrontation. The organized population must be prepared to recognize movements, know how to act.
The training plan in Caracas advances simultaneously with the central commitment to resolve the conflict raised by Chavismo since January: dialogue to reach an agreement. These attempts were first made secretly for months and, for the last two weeks have became public through the talks in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Chavismo has shown itself united around the search for dialogue, and has affirmed that it will insist on reaching an agreement. The opposition on the other hand has been divided in this regard: while one sector is part of the dialogue attempt, as the representatives of Guaidó -directed from the United States- and the Un Nuevo Tiempo party, another sector has insisted that there is nothing to talk about or negotiate anymore. The second space maintains the thesis that Chavismo will only leave through an action of international force. To that end they work publicly, for example, on the fictitious re-entry, via the National Assembly, of Venezuela to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR).
The US government, for its part, maintains the public position that every solution passes through the exit of Nicolás Maduro, and has returned, through its vice president Mike Pence, to give support to Guaidó. The question, which has been raised since the beginning of Guaidó’s self-proclamation, is: how far is the United States willing to go?
While those are the public debates, what is prepared behind closed doors? The right, within the North American plan and financing, has already carried out violent actions on the days of Guaidó’s self-proclamation, attempted entry by force from Colombia on February 23, deployed attacks on the electric system, attempted political-military action on the 30th of April at dawn. What if they are not yet ready to agree in Oslo on a process that does not involve the Maduro exit? Chavismo works on all possible scenarios. Caracas is the epicenter of power that seeks to assault the coup, and is prepared, therefore, in its trenches.
Translated by JRE\EF