martes, 24 de febrero de 2015

My article on the Venezuelan military published in SFPPR News and Analysis, Washington DC


Maduro’s regime, with the help of the Cubans, has turned Venezuela into a rogue state and the international community and democratic governments of the world should no longer delude themselves about its abusive, corrupt and illegitimate nature.

By Gustavo Coronel l February 24, 2015
In addition to prominent members of the Venezuelan armed forces being accused and, even, sanctioned by the U.S. government for their association with with drug trafficking. Besides the President of the National Assembly, Captain Diosdado Cabello, being accused by a former body guard who escaped to the U.S., of being the head of the drug cartel called “The Cartel of the Suns” (the suns refer to the symbols of military rankings worn by officers on their epaulettes). In addition to the deeply unconstitutional posture of the Minister of Defense, General V. Padrino Lopez, who has declared his unconditional loyalty to the revolution, the Venezuelan Armed Forces have recently structured a military plan ostensibly designed to fight smuggling and hoarding of goods in the country, but which is – in reality – a powerful instrument of repression against the Venezuelan private sector. The plan, leaked to daily newspaper “El Nacional” is 22 pages long, is signed by General Padrino Lopez and consists of a directive to the National Commander of the Venezuelan National Guard, Major General Gabriel Oviedo for the establishment of the plan.
In this plan it is assumed that private owners of industry, commercial distributors, merchants and, even, the so-called members of the informal economy or street peddlers, are part of a vast network of enemies of the state and that, as such, should be the object of surveillance, repression and harsh treatment. Further, the plan calls for the installation of 24 military regional commands, plus a Central Command of the so-called People’s Guards (a paramilitary organization), plus a Coastal Surveillance Command, and an Air Force group. There are also divisions for Mining Surveillance and Special Police, all with the objective of “maintaining the domestic order and counter the attacks of what President Maduro likes to call, “The Economic War.”
The plan is also designed to “fight” the illegal extraction of petroleum from Venezuela into Colombia as well as hoarding, for which they mostly blame merchants. Paradoxically, it is the National Guard, the organization that most Venezuelans blame for the illegal extraction of oil products across the Venezuelan borders, working in combination with corrupt petroleum company managers. Recently, two of these managers, brother and sister, have been detained, being caught red handed in smuggling activities.
These military and para-military organizations will conduct surveillance and follow-up operations, will supervise the production activities of the industries, will conduct investigations about imports, storage and distribution of basic foods, among other activities.
In addition to these structures the plan includes the use in intelligence operations of the so-called “Cooperating Patriots,” allied to the revolution. This is no more than a spy organization, similar to the Castro regime’s so-called “Defenders of the Revolution,” informers, stool pigeons. Venezuelan society has become degraded, engaged in an abominable class struggle promoted by the regime. The stool pigeons are instructed to denounce suspicious activity of any kind, which opens the doors to a state of terror.
The Plan also calls for an Intelligence Command Center for the follow up and processing of all the material generated by the informers, possibly with the help of Cuban “advisers.”
This plan is already being implemented and one of its first actions was the closure of the popular “Dia-a-Dia” or Day-to-Day markets, and the imprisonment of their main directors, a group of middle class Venezuelans who have an excellent reputation as honest merchants. The legal representative of this company says there is no justification for this measure, except as an act of harassment of the private sector.  All activities of this company had been duly authorized by the government prior to its abrupt take over.
This military-paramilitary organization is part of the police state which the current Venezuelan political regime has installed in the country very likely with the help and direction of the Maduro regime’s Cuban allies dependent on Venezuelan oil. Venezuelans are under a evil dictatorship, which is supported by a group of the military involved in drug trafficking.
Maduro’s regime, with the help of the Cubans, has turned Venezuela into a rogue state and the international community and democratic governments of the world should no longer delude themselves about its abusive, corrupt and illegitimate nature.

Gustavo Coronel, who served on the board of directors of Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), has had a long and distinguished career in the international petroleum industry, including in the USA, Europe, Venezuela and Indonesia. He is an author, public policy expert and contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.