Everyone is on edge in Caracas nowadays, and with good reason.
The scent of blood is in the air.
Criminal violence grows worse by the day.
Independent security experts estimate that over 14,000 persons will be murdered nationally in 2009.
Up to 17 million unlicensed handguns and other light weapons are circulating in a country of about 27 million inhabitants.
International experts say that Venezuela has the most lethally violent prisons in the Americas.
Just a couple of days ago, the residents of Palo Verde in eastern Caracas blockaded streets in their neighborhood to protest the unchecked criminal violence they suffer daily.
Some of the Palo Verde protesters threatened to start dumping the corpses of murder victims at the entrance to the offices of the Attorney General of the Republic.
But dumping the bodies of murder victoms outside the AG’s office won’t make a difference.
President Hugo Chavez isn’t interested in the criminal violence engulfing Venezuela.
Chavez is too busy crafting violent Bolivarian strategies and tactics to crush his enemies at home and abroad.
Chavez is working hard to destabilize Colombia ahead of its presidential elections in 2010. He is also trying to destabilize Peru and Honduras. We’ll address the Chavez regime’s regional destabilization efforts in a future post.
Chavez’s violent plans for Venezuela are of greater immediate concern.
Public Works and Housing Minister Diosdado Cabello, the second most powerful figure in the Chavez regime after his president, to whom Cabello continuously swears total fealty and obedience, has been ordered to create 72 “camps” (“campamentos”) in the Greater Caracas Area that will be manned exclusively civilian military reservists.
These “Tricolor Camps” will be manned by Bolivarian reservists, who by law take orders only from President Chavez. They will be given decent housing, and will permanently receive military training including the use of assault rifles and other light infantry weapons.
Cabello said these “Tricolor Camps” will serve as Bolivarian bastions to “defend the people (“pueblo”) and the revolution.”
It can be assumed that only the best-trained and most highly motivated Bolivarian reservists will be based in these “Tricolor Camps.” But will all of these elite reservists be Venezuelan citizens?
Recently approved reforms to Venezuela’s armed forces legislation allows foreigners to serve in the conventional armed forces and the military reserve.
The Bolivarian militia’s members already include Marxist gunmen associated with groups like the Tupamaros, the Carapaicas, the Alexis Vive Command, and La Piedrita, among others. The PSUV’s radical faction also has a strong presence in the Bolivarian militia.
But the reforms to the country’s armed forces legislation opens the door for the arrival of new radical “recruits” from Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries.
Members of the FARC, ELN and other militant groups in the region also might be persuaded to join the Bolivarian reserve; and why not Islamist militants too?
President Chavez is publicly on record as supporting the Iranian regime’s goal of “erasing” the state of Israel from the map of the world.
Caracas will soon have 72 “Tricolor Camps” strategically positioned throughout the city.
Caracas Gringo knows of two: the old public market in the heart of Chacao, and the undeveloped land near Sante Fe where Makro once planned to build another hyper-market.
In a civil conflict scenario, these two locations would be strategically/tactically vital for a despotic regime determined to maintain control and power at any cost.
It’s a safe bet that the Chavez regime plans to create more “Tricolor Camps” in other cities over the coming months.
Meanwhile, the Interior & Justice Ministry announced on 3 November that the new National Police will start to deploy soon in Caracas and other cities.
Little is known about this new Bolivarian police force, but absolute loyalty to the revolution and active membership in the ruling PSUV party reportedly are among the principal requirements for employment.
The AG’s office operates as the chief executioner of every political whim, and abuse, which pops into President Chavez’s head. The Supreme Court is the president’s faithful judicial Poodle. The regime’s Bolivarian judges issue decisions based on “orders” they receive from above, when they’re not dispensing checkbook justice.
Given these precedents, what role will be played by the new National Police in the official security establishment’s expanding primary mandate of crushing any dissent?
But it doesn’t stop there.
The Chavez regime is creating an extensive civilian espionage network all all levels of society, working through the PSUV patrols, the Communal Councils, Bolivarian Circles and other “agents” of the revolution to deploy people whose intelligence “jobs” will be to listen to what others say – and report the “humint” to their higher-ups.
But this “popular” intelligence network is only one element of the Chavez regime’s plans to restructure and expand the state’s intelligence services.
President Chavez is determined to create a National Intelligence Service (SIN) that would be modeled in many respects on the Cuban regime’s General Intelligence Directorate (DGI).
Division General Hugo Carvajal, the current director of the Defense Ministry’s military intelligence service (DGIM), reportedly is a top candidate to serve as the first director of the SIN.
Imagine Carvajal, whom the US Treasury designated a drug kingpin in September 2008 for actively cooperating with the FARC, running the Bolivarian regime’s planned new national intelligence service.
President Chavez is forcefully clear about his intentions.
In recent speeches to the Bolivarian faithful, Chavez has thundered that “those who ruled Venezuela” before the revolution “will never again” hold any political power.
Chavez also has urged the National Assembly to accelerate the erasure of every last piece of legislation associated with the Fourth Republic.
Since April 2002, Chavez has warned repeatedly that he would “never again…be surprised (or) caught unprepared.”
The president’s chief thug, Diosdado Cabello, also has warned a few times in the past couple of years that any sign of violence directed against the revolution would be crushed immediately and without mercy.
Not be a naysayer, but the threats of Chavez, Cabello and the regime’s other senior gangsters hint that this is not a group that will transfer power democratically to anyone, even if they are whipped soundly in democratic elections.
Chavez clearly is lowering the bar of political violence to dangerous new levels.
Times are bad now. The economy is in the dumps, inflation and devaluation pressures are growing mightily, there’s zero real private investment on the horizon, structural unemployment is increasing apace with a young population’s growth.
But it’s going to get worse. Consider:
*Pdvsa is a broken company. The economic backbone of the state is snapped. Pdvsa’s crude production capacity has plunged from about 3.5 million b/d in 1999 to about 2.2 million b/d today. Its refineries break down all the time. The company’s payroll has ballooned from about 20,000 (post-2003 purge) to about 90,000 today, but Pdvsa produces less oil. Moreover, Pdvsa has not completed even one major new project since 2003 – zilch, nada.
*Venezuela faces at least five long years of daily power rationing and daily unexpected outages because the Chavez regime hasn’t invested in maintenance or new power projects for a decade. The 2,000MW Planta Centro thermal power generation plant is junk destined only for scrap; it cannot be salvaged, even minimally. And the 10,000MW Guri hydroelectric power complex is at risk of catastrophic failures.
*The basic steel and aluminum industries lie in ruins. Billions of dollars are at risk of being lost forever. The Orinoco River has been grotesquely contaminated by state-owned Bauxite producer Bauxilum.
And how is Chavez responding to these crises which he is responsible for creating?
For starters, Chavez claims that Venezuela’s growing crises in oil, gas, power, security and everything else are the fault of the “pueblo” and its “capitalist consumerism.”
But Chavez isn’t going to change his ways and chart a new course for his corrupt revolution.
Instead, President Chavez is preparing his armed militia praetorians to defend him from the people.
In some recess of his evil mind, Chavez knows that a reckoning with his “pueblo” will land on his front doorstep at some point in the future.
Because in everyone’s life, sooner or later, s*** happens.