Tuesday, January 30, 2018

possible military rumblings in Venezuela?

Venezuela's economic and social plunge continues, and now it appears even the military is demoralized. Here's an article that's short enough for me to quote it in full:

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, hated by much of the country's population and sanctioned by a growing number of countries, is facing problems keeping the police and military happy as food shortages and hyperinflation start to hit their barracks.

Recent meetings and internal documents of the Venezuelan armed forces point to concern in the Maduro regime as troops grow more demoralized and commanders report an increase in the number of insubordination cases and desertions.

In addition to the signs of unrest among the Army and National Guard units, the government also faces a tense relationship with the investigative police agency known by its initials in Spanish, CICPC, after the recent public execution of rebel policeman Oscar Perez, who was killed by security forces in an assault broadcast live through social media.

“There is unrest, and there's a lack of discipline. The soldiers are demoralized,” said Gen. Herbert Garcia Plaza, a former Maduro cabinet minister, in a phone call from Washington. “Military installations have declared a state of alert, which is not normal [at this time] because there are not even street protests now. It seems like they think the enemy is inside.”

The high military command, in a document leaked recently to the news media, ordered that 75 percent of the soldiers be restricted to their barracks, in effect activating a general state of alert.

Another document, which contained the minutes of a meeting of senior armed forces leaders, showed Army Commander Gen. Jesus Rafael Suarez Chourio instructing unit commanders to improve their relations with subordinates, listen to their opinions and “motivate them to remain loyal” to the army.

The low morale within the armed forces is spreading through the barracks at a time when inflation is hitting 4,000 percent and the legal minimum salary pays for only 10 percent of the monthly basic food basket.

You can see why North Korea has its seon-gun (military-first) policy. Venezuela, meanwhile, has no China-sized benefactor to provide it with an economic I.V. drip, so this plunge can only continue until... what? What does a country splatting look like?

Brace for impact.

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