February 02, 2007

Bolivia, Venezuela and Arms

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Here is another distubing piece of news. According to the 2006 Military Balance Report, published by the London based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Venezuela has been busily building its war power for some time now. A disturbing development has been that Chavez has began arming recently created civilian militias, in case the US decides to invade Venezuela. To defend the 'Boliviarian Revolution', so to speak.

The repor has details about this development, but one problem is that one has to purchase it. So it is not widely available. However, there are articles available from people who are involed in the writing of it. This article talks about Chavez's actions and also mentions that "Chavez also is helping Bolivian President Evo Morales and has warned of a U.S. plot to oust Morales - a claim denied by Washington. Venezuela will send Bolivia troops and two Superpuma helicopters, Defense Minister Orlando Maniglia said Monday. He said the Venezuelan troops would do roadwork and engineering tasks, though he didn't say how many would go or give other details."

This claim is disturbing because, as you can imagine, were Morales to follow Chavez's line, he would end up arming civilian militias. Moreover, as you may remember from my recent post, I talked about the Ponchos Rojos (Red Ponchos). This is already a civilian militia under the command of Morales. This group, which boasts of 100,000 soldiers, has said that it will be ready in case it has to act.

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