Caracas, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said on Monday that the Bolivarian militia already has 1.6 million members and that its main mission is to “defend” the national territory from what has been described as possible external aggression of the country, particularly from Brazil, Colombia and the United States.
Maduro said that his opponents led by Washington tried to assassinate him and impose a dictatorship in the country. The Venezuelan president pointed to sanctions from the United States as the source of the five-year recession of the local economy.
In April “I gave an order … for one year to reach one million militiamen and … it was reached in a record time of eight months,” Maduro said in a ceremony at the courtyard of the Military Academy in front of hundreds of militiamen with shoulder rifles. In April, the president said the militias had “almost 400,000 people.”
The Bolivarian National Militia of Venezuela was created by the late President Hugo Chávez in 2008 and is made up of civilian volunteers.
The president said that the force reached 1.66 million men and women. Maduro said that the function of the militiamen is “intelligence and popular counterintelligence,” and to protect Venezuela.
“We will arm the Bolivarian militia to the teeth,” he said, without giving details of how many militiamen currently have weapons.
It may be that “a force of imperialist invasion enters somewhere in the homeland, but the imperialists must know that they will not leave here alive,” Maduro said in a speech broadcast on state television.
Venezuela will defend itself against “oligarchs … coming from Bogota or Brasilia,” Maduro said.
The Brazilian President-elect has openly announced his disdain for the Bolivarian government in Venezuela and has suggested that he might draw Brazil into a war with its neighboring country for no good reason but to support Washington’s imperialist ambitions.