Venezuelan civilians train to fight for Chavez

May 4, 2010 04:50

Chavez shows all the sign of a dictator looking for a war to fight. He has been buying Russian arms, has Iranian shock troops in country, and is now training up civilians just as Hitler did.

By Ian James ASSOCIATED PRESS via Washington Times

CHARALLAVE, Venezuela | A 54-year-old housewife fired the machine gun for the first time, letting loose a thunderous burst of gunfire and beaming with satisfaction. A boot camp instructor shouted, “Kill those gringos.”

Thousands of civilian volunteers in olive-green fatigues were training over the weekend at a Venezuelan army base, where they learned to crawl under barbed wire, fire assault rifles and stalk enemies in combat.

Known as the Bolivarian Militia, this spirited group of mostly working-class men and women — from students to retirees — are united by their militant support for President Hugo Chavez and their willingness to defend his government.

From what exactly?

Mr. Chavez has warned repeatedly of potential threats: the United States, U.S.-allied Colombia and the Venezuelan “oligarchy,” as he labels opponents. He has called on recruits to be ready to lay down their lives if necessary to battle “any threat, foreign or domestic,” even though Venezuela has never fought a war against another nation.

In the meantime, the militia is a practical tool for Mr. Chavez to engage his supporters, rally nationalist fervor and intimidate any opponents who might consider another coup like the one he survived in 2002. One close aide, Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello, said the militia already is 120,000 strong and could grow to 200,000.


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