Caracas creates a 1.5 million-men popular militia
Washington looks determined to frustrate any sale of weapons to Venezuela, despites the South American country is free from any UN restriction to modernize its outdated equipment. After insisting in the “inappropriate” decision taken by the Kremlin of selling 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles, the US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticised Spain's decision to sell military planes and boats to Venezuela in an interview published on Wednesday.
The argument is the same: on Rumsfeld's view, it is unclear why leftist President Hugo Chavez needs the weapons. "I personally think that Spain is making a mistake," Rumsfeld said in the interview with The Miami Herald. "I guess time will tell. The problem is that, if one waits until time tells, it can bean unhappy story."
Spanish Prime Minister announced during a visit last month to Venezuela that his country would sell eight military patrol boats and 10 transport planes to the South America country. After making the announcement, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero challenged critics from conservative opposition leaders, who said the Spanish government was making a “big mistake” by promoting the operation.
According to Zapatero, the equipment is for defensive purposes only and it can hardly be used to launch an attack to any other nation. Spanish military officers have also supported the deal.
In the meantime, the Venezuelan President announced the creation of a 1.5 million-men popular militia to be ready to protect national sovereinght. The new force will report directly to the Presidency and will be formed by common citizens.
The new militia is expected to be alert, on reserve, to face any eventuality as a foreign attack. But in the meantime, it will pursue pacific objectives connected to the ambitious social programs the government has in force.
This newly created force wis not going to be part of the National Armed Forces of the country, as, according to analysts, Mr. Chavez no longer trusts in the army, since its participation in the failed coup of 2002.