Fw: [CubaNews] Venezuela's National Guard battles attack on government
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Nov 19 19:34:24 MST 2002
Here is a good description of the Venezuelan National Guard, which
apparently came into conflict with rightist demonstrators when they
attempted to forcibly block roads.
So they are different from the Venezuelan army, which has not attacked the
popular masses since the coup, when sizable sections backed Chavez as the
legitimate president. National Guard units participated in two recent
Caracas attacks on pro-Chavez demonstrators.
But both are different from the police, which have been used by reactionary
officials in various parts of the country to attack supporters of the
government, peasants attempting to carry out the land reform law, and
Original Message -----
From: "Ron Kohn" <reinaldok_2000 at yahoo.com>
To: <CubaNews at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: [CubaNews] Venezuela's National Guard battles attack on
> Fred: The Venezuelan National Guard (La Guardia
> Nacional) is very different from the National Guard in
> the USA.
> The Venezuelan N G as its name states is designed to
> protect the interests of the nation. They are a
> combination of border patrol - airport police - IRS
> agents and serve to protect property and maintain law
> and order.
> I found this group quite well run and dedicated to
> their assignments (with certain exceptions). They are
> NOT the Venezuelan army and sometimes can get quite
> annoyed if they are confused with the regular troops.
> In over thirty years dealing with them, I always found
> them to be courteous and business like in their
> operations. They are more noticeable at the airports
> and on the docks. You will also run into them
> checking bars and restaurants, to ascertain if the
> proper liquor taxes have been paid.
> These, in general, are not the types you flip a few
> dollars to, in order to get customs' advantage or
> something similar.
> Just for your info
> Ron Kohn
> --- Fred Feldman <ffeldman at bellatlantic.net> wrote:
> > Coming from the only country I know of where people
> > are regularly attacked
> > and even killed by the cops for supporting the
> > government, this counts as a
> > real dog-bites-man story. I think I have been, as
> > usual, a little confused
> > about
> > Venezuela's military-police structure. For some
> > time, I thought the army
> > and the National Guard were the same thing, but this
> > is clearly not the
> > case. There is the army, the National Guard which
> > seems to have primarily
> > domestic policing tasks, and the cops controlled by
> > local governments. I
> > will appreciate anyone who can help me get this
> > straight.
> > Anyway, this looks like good news to me. I also
> > think that the steadily
> > deteriorating situation that Washington faces in
> > Latin America is the
> > biggest developing obstacle to the launching of a
> > full-scale war on Iraq.
> > Time doesn't seem to be on the U.S. side.
> > Fred Feldman
> > New York Times, November 19
> > Caracas Riot Police Battle Anti-Chávez Marchers
> > By REUTERS
> > CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 18 (Reuters) - National
> > Guard troops fired tear gas
> > and shotgun pellets to disperse antigovernment
> > demonstrators here today as
> > President Hugo Chávez's struggle with his political
> > foes persisted.
> > The disturbances followed a weekend of tumult caused
> > in part by the
> > government's decision on Saturday to wrest control
> > of the Caracas city
> > police from Mayor Alfredo Peña, an outspoken
> > opponent of the president.
> > Adding to the tension, a powerful explosion rocked
> > downtown Caracas today,
> > killing three people and causing widespread panic.
> > Firefighters said they
> > had traced the explosion to a fireworks store.
> > Riding motorcycles and wearing gas masks, troops in
> > the eastern part of the
> > capital swooped on flag-waving anti-Chávez
> > protesters to disperse them from
> > highway roadblocks that they had used their own cars
> > to form. "We are
> > protesting against the government's violation of
> > human rights," said a
> > demonstrator, Armando Morante, 25. "We are creating
> > chaos."
> > The soldiers fired shotgun pellets and canisters of
> > gas. Demonstrators
> > responded by throwing stones and garbage as the
> > eye-stinging, throat-burning
> > gas enveloped them and the cars backed up in both
> > directions.
> > The demonstrators contend that Mr. Chávez, a former
> > paratrooper elected in
> > 1998 who survived a coup in April, has begun a
> > military crackdown on his
> > opponents. He has resisted fierce opposition
> > pressure to step down and call
> > an early referendum on his rule.
> > The disturbances have increased the likelihood that
> > opposition leaders could
> > mobilize a general strike.
> > In a combative speech today, Mr. Chávez challenged
> > them to go ahead. "If the
> > coup-plotting opposition calls another strike," he
> > told students in eastern
> > Sucre, "then get ready, because we are going to
> > defeat them again."
> > The weekend events were certain to strain struggling
> > peace talks, which were
> > to have resumed today.
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