[Marxism] Harnecker: Why Venezuelan Oligarchy Imports Soldiers

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon May 24 13:17:33 MDT 2004

(Chilean scholar Marta Harnecker provides this close
analysis of the recent capture of a large group of
Colombian paramilitaries inside Venezuela and the
response of the Bolivarian administration to this.

(”Aware that a group of the recruits are minors, 'sons 
of poverty, who end up being recruited for narco-
trafficking,' Chavez announced that they would not go to
jail, offering them instead to return them to their
families or to stay and study at a Bolivarian school,
should they want to.")

May 20, 2004

Venezuela's Oligarchy Imports Soldiers 
Because It Cannot Recruit Them At Home
By: Marta Harnecker

If anything has become clear following the discovery of
an incursion of a significantly large paramilitary group
into the country, it is that the 'anti-Bolivarian and
anti-Venezuelan oligarchy and its masters in the north'
have not been able to recruit Venezuelan soldiers for
their subversive objectives and 'have been forced to
recruit them in another country,' as expressed President
Chavez in front of tens of thousands of people, who
gathered in Caracas this past Sunday, May 16th, to
demonstrate their rejection of paramilitary activity and
to express their support for peace.

Since 'the conspiracies against Venezuela do not end
with the capture of mercenaries in Caracas,' there must
be many other infiltrators in other areas of the
country; since this is not an isolated action, but one
whose efforts to stop the process continue, one can
reach but only one conclusion: it is necessary to
prepare oneself for self-defense. This is why the
President considered it opportune to take advantage of
the occasion and to announce three strategic lines for
defending the country. The most radical proposal was a
call for the population to massively participate in the
defense of the nation.

A week earlier, on the 9th of May, on the outskirts of
Caracas, a paramilitary force was discovered, dressed in
field uniforms. Later, more were found, raising the
total to 130, leaving open the possibility that there
are still more in the country. The three Colombian
paramilitary leaders of the group are members of the
Autonomous Self-Defense Forces (AUC) in Northern
Santander state in Colombia.

Some of the captured Colombian fighters have a long
history as members of paramilitary forces. Others are
reservists of the Colombian army and yet others were
specifically recruited for the task in Venezuela and
were surely tricked. Among these there are several who
are minors.

A colonel of the Venezuelan air force was also detained,
as well as seven officers of the National Guard. Among
those implicated in the plot is a group of civilians
headed by the Cuban Roberto Alonso, creator of the
'guarimbas,'[1] and Gustavo Quintero Machado, a
Venezuelan, both who are currently wanted by the
Venezuelan justice system.

What the real objectives were is now being discussed.
One of them could have been to steal weapons so as to
then attack the Miraflores presidential palace and
President Chavez himself.

The government denounced the existence of an
international plot in which the governments of the
United States and of Colombian would be involved. U.S.
Ambassador Shapiro denied that his country had any
participation in the incident. And the Colombian
president, for his part, solidarized himself with the
Venezuelan government, affirming that he supports its
actions against the members of the irregular Colombian
military group, which then caused Chavez to publicly
announce that he was convinced that President Alvaro
Uribe did not have anything to do with the plot, even
though he insisted on leveling charges against a
Colombian general by the name of Carreño.

Even though the oppositional media conducted a big
campaign to minimize the issue, trying to accuse the
government of having organized a montage, so as to have
a pretext for taking forceful measures that would impede
a confrontation at the voting booth, every day more
evidence surfaces that confirm the official version.

The Colombian attorney general's office has evidence
that proves that paramilitary fighters were recruited
and then transported to Venezuela and that extreme
right-wing groups infiltrated intelligence services in
the border town of Cúcuta. The proof was shown on the
news program 'The Independent Network.' The program
broadcast some intercepted recordings of paramilitary
soldiers in Cúcuta, in which the operations they carried
out in Venezuelan territory are reviewed.

This is not the activity of the entire opposition. Most
of the opposition appears to have learnt the lesson of
the violent activity of this past March (as is known,
most of Venezuela's population rejected these

Nonetheless, radical groups within the opposition-among
which are some couptist military officers-conscious of
the insufficient electoral support that they enjoy, have
decided to take the path of violence as the only way
out. Among their inspirers is former president Carlos
Andrés Pérez, who, in a Colombian radio program,
revealed that they were looking to get rid of Chavez by
force because they have realized that peacefully it
would be impossible.

Aware that a group of the recruits are minors, 'sons of
poverty, who end up being recruited for narco-
trafficking,' Chavez announced that they would not go to
jail, offering them instead to return them to their
families or to stay and study at a Bolivarian school,
should they want to.

The Bolivarian leader maintained that the revolutionary
Venezuelan process has entered into a new phase that he
defined as anti-imperialist, which obligates clear
thinking and consequent actions.

He then proceeded to insist in the need for advancing
the agricultural reform program and the social and
economic policies, announcing what he called the
'Bolivarian Agenda 2006,' and referred to the three
lines of strategic national defense.

The first line is related to the strengthening of the
military component and in relation to this Chavez
announced that the contingent that enters into the
military would be increased and their training improved.
Also, new theaters of operation would be created in
various regions of the country, such as the central
region. For this it would be necessary to acquire new

The second is related to a deepening of the civic-
military union. He affirmed that this would be a severe
blow against the coupist military officers that still
are in the military and revealed that some officers had
planned to take over an air base and to commandeer
several fighter jets so as to drop bombs on the
Miraflores presidential palace and other strategic

The third line is about citizens' active participation
in national defense. This has to do with applying
chapter VII of the constitution, which refers to
national security and in which a co-responsibility is
established between the state and civil society with
regard to this issue.[3]

Basing himself on the constitution, President Chavez
called on the people to integrate themselves into the
defense of national sovereignty. He said that the
reservists who will soon be about 100,000 are not
enough, but that a massive incorporation of the people
into national defense is necessary. Also, retired
officers should incorporate themselves to support this

The Bolivarian revolution has no doubt entered into a
new phase. It is not only necessary that the entire
Venezuelan people assume its defense, but that
international solidarity is deepened, in order to
prevent any kind of foreign intervention.

Translated by Gregory Wilpert

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