Chavez and the Weakness of a Militia

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Although Chavez goes against everything we hold dear and true in America, and completely contradicts what this country has given her blood, money, and lives for, we acknowledge that he did get something right: how to build and start a militia.


Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, has recently said he that associates of his civilian militia should be given weapon which are to be armed and ready for immediate use, should the need arise.  This civilian militia is known as The Bolivarian Militia, structured by the Venezuelan President in the past few years to be an integral part of their nation's defense.  This organization consists of volunteers who reach in age from students to retirees.


Usually, the Bolivarian Militia kept their guns and ammunition under lock and key at military depots, though the volunteers would regularly attend boot camps over the weekends for training purposes.  But Chavez knows and has said, like any good organized militia leader, "Who has seen a militia without weapons?".  This change of policy was prompted when Venezuela's militia leader saw some of his men standing guard only to learn that they had no weapons (guns) on them.  Seemed pretty pointless.  He told many of his military officers and other high-ranking officials, "militias are the people with weapons".  He went on to describe that their militia should be a stable, enduring, protective entity.  As such, a militia and its members "should be armed, equipped, and trained".  He is doing away with the notion that these are un-armed weekend warriors.


Chavez then also said that a country should encourage their people to forma and start a militia.


In the case of the Venezuelan Militia, it is named in honor of Simon Bolivar, a hero and inspiration for Chavez.  This militia is formed of a wide variety of ages (as already mentioned), but it also includes a wide array of professions: housewives, engineers, public employees, and everything in between.  Their weekend training gatherings are where these members are taught how to fire cannons, mortars, and machine guns.  Venezuelan officials say the militia has approximately 120,000 members and are always adding to their numbers.


Chavez personally knows the power and usefulness of an organized militia, as The Bolivarian Militia helped him remain in control during a failed coup in 2002.  Beyond asking for the cooperation and protection against domestic threats, he has also called upon his members to defend their country against foreign threats as well, should the need arise (and he says that such a time has come by claiming that America is threatening Venezuela's oil export).


But here's the downfall of any militia, and it is especially the true weakness in Chavez's case: the Venezuelan militia is essentially a personal unit of protection for him (or any other one person who start a militia), not necessarily the country at large.  Instead of being a mode of protection for the common good of country, if abused, a militia can easily turn into a violent and powerful device for keeping order (read: "control", "power", or "oppression").


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Chavez and the Weakness of a Militia

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This article was published on 2010/10/06
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