Telesur indepth special: Paramilitaries in Venezuela
The phenomenon of paramilitary groups in Venezuela is on the rise, according to the country's government. President Nicolas Maduro revealed last month that there are 30 different Colombian paramilitary groups operating inside Venezuela
Paramilitary groups have mainly developed in Colombia, but the model was “exported” throughout the region during the Cold War. Today, paramilitary groups operate in Mexico, Honduras, and more recently in Paraguay
Venezuela, however, was relatively free from paramilitary forces – although there have been small guerrilla groups operating inside the country and land distribution issues – until 1997
In Febrary 1997, detained paramilitary groups were connected to wealthy landlords and had detailed maps of the border region of Apure. The men claimed they were hired by the Venezuelan Gen. Enrique Medina Gomez
Carlos Castaño, the leader of Colombia’s most famous paramilitary group, the United Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), confirmed later that same year that he had met with 140 Venezuelan businesspeople and landlords to create a similar paramilitary structure as the one he led in Colombia, particularly in border regionsRead more Paramilitarism on the rise in Venezuela
By Jesus Rojas - published on 13 September 2015 by Democracy and Class struggle
The incursion of paramilitary groups into Venezuela has been a silent and dangerous invasion. You can not allow under any circumstance that paramilitary groups be established in the country.Admittedly Colombian brothers have come to work with dignity, but others have come to commit crimes.
The paramilitary groups act as a mercenaries cells, paid by landowners or governments that promote terrorism, paramilitarism in Venezuela. They began acting at the frontier of Tachira, Apure and Zulia, in cattle rustling, kidnapping, extortion and killings. Proof of this has been the number of peasants killed by hired killers with land problems by paramilitary groups.
All these events are not accidental, behind these events is the hand of Santander Uribe Velez (Ex Colombian president) and his family, one of the creators of such mercenaries or paramilitaries in his country, there are also the seven US bases in Colombia, besides US embassies in Colombia and Venezuela and the stateless fascist bourgeoisie, who just want the rule of the jackboot be installed here.
They are using the paramilitaries to destabilize the country, the electricity service, the universities and economic sector, to convulse large cities with guarimbas and killings of leaders.
Venezuela has denounced the presence of extreme right paramilitary groups of the in its territory. These groups, coming from Colombia, are pursuing well-defined political and economic objectives.
Published on 1 September 2015 by Council on hemispheric affairs
President Nicolas Maduro launched an ambitious campaign to fight organized crime (the Operation to Liberate and Protect the People–OLP) in the most seriously impacted states of the country. Over the past week, as a critical phase of this campaign, Venezuela has moved to take control over its notoriously porous border with Colombia in Táchira State, seriously disrupting the routine but illicit trade in contraband goods coming from Venezuela that has fueled a parallel economy in Colombia. This illicit trade, however, as well as manipulative currency exchange practices in the frontier area, has been generating some of the commodity shortages as well as the depreciation of the bolívar fuerte suffered by consumers in Venezuela. This is not a new issue. The crime and contraband problem along the border had been brewing for more than a decade. Moreover, a growing public outcry calling for decisive action to address both public security concerns and persistent commodity shortages has become particularly intense over the past two years and now threatens to derail the Bolivarian project ahead of the December 2015 legislative elections. Maduro had to either take decisive action or preside over the demise of the revolution.
This essay argues that there is a direct relationship between a significant part of the shortages of basic goods in Venezuela and the parallel economy in Colombia that is fueled by contraband smuggled out of Venezuela. This relationship, moreover, is unsustainable for the Venezuelan side and is a poor substitute for legitimate employment on the Colombian side. Though recent stepped up interdiction efforts over the past year have been intercepting contraband on a routine basis, the movement of subsidized goods out of Venezuela nevertheless has been unrelenting. Even the current operation, however, is only a temporarily fix; it will take cooperation between Bogotá and Caracas on security, economic, and social matters along their common frontier to bring about a satisfactory resolution of this issue.Read more Venezuela Takes Control of Its Border as Bogotá and Caracas Bring Their Cases to UNASUR
Published on 11 September 2015 by Venezuela Analysis
A Venezuelan judge sentenced far right opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to 13 years and nine months in prison Thursday evening for his role in leading last year’s violent anti-government protests.
Venezuelan judge Susana Barreiros found Lopez guilty of public incitement to violence and association to commit crimes. In particular, Barreiros cited over 700 tweets which she says urged supporters to take the streets to demand the “exit” of democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro.
Beginning on February 12, 2014 and lasting several months, the protests saw opposition supporters set up violent street barricades that led to the deaths of 43 people, over half of whom were security personnel and passersby.
Lopez was arrested on February 14 after clashes saw armed opposition backers attack the Public Prosecutor’s office and other government buildings, leading to several deaths and widespread public property damage.
Born into one of Venezuela's wealthiest families, Lopez is also well known for playing an active role in the US-sponsored 2002 coup which saw then-president Hugo Chavez briefly ousted from office. The arrest of the Harvard-educated lawyer has attracted widespread coverage from international news outlets, which have drawn comparisons between the rightwing politician and both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
The high profile trial, which took place over the span of a year and involved 70 hearings, was reportedly dragged out by delay tactics on the part of the Lopez team, including failing to show up for court on several occasions and mounting a thirty day hunger strike.
Responding to the ruling, Lopez told the judge, “You are more afraid to dictate the sentence than I am to hear it”. The statement has been construed by some as a veiled threat. The Lopez defense team has announced that it will appeal the decision.Read more Venezuelan Judge Sentences Leopoldo Lopez for Role in 2014 Violence
Published on 8 September 2015 by TeleSUR English
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday his country will receive 20,000 Syrian refugees fleeing Western interventionism, war and violence.
This is the same number of refugees U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that his country will accept over the next five years.
Maduro took the chance to condemn plans by the U.S. and its Western allies to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, who was democratically elected.
Instead, he said, they should seek to implement a peace plan for Syria, where a civil war that began in 2011 has left over 250,000 people dead and over 11 million displaced, including 3 million externally.
The U. N. agency for refugees recently revealed that Venezuela has received over 200,000 refugees in the last couple of years, of which over 95 percent are Colombians, who arrived in the neighboring country fleeing from violence, poverty and war.