A week ago, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces celebrated an act of “reaffirmation of loyalty” to the dictator Nicolás Maduro. At the military meeting, Maduro asked the Armed Forces to maintain their subordinate status.
“I demand maximum loyalty to the commander in chief of the Armed Forces…Are the Armed Forces going to betray the people of Venezuela?” Asked the leader of the Chavista regime, while speaking to a small group of officers.
As one who demands to be loved by his military officers, Nicolás Maduro used the opportunity to discuss his concerns about the dynamics of the military world. And he has good reasons to worry. Nothing is going well. He controls nothing.
The day after the pathetic event in the Fuerte Tiuna military complex in Caracas, the director of the Penal Forum organization, Alfredo Romero, informed in a press conference that “so far this year there have already been 40 soldiers detained for political reasons.”
It is a persecution that has only worsened as a result of the farcical elections that were held in Venezuela on May 20. In the days before and after the electoral masquerade, the regime ramped up detentions to thwart a supposed rebellion.
The military, under the auspices of the “Plan Republica” for holding the elections, were the main witnesses of the fraud that Sunday. They had front row seats to the massive abstention by the Venezuelan citizens. And their loyalty to Nicolás Maduro’s regime, obligated them to maintain silence in the wake of blatant electoral fraud.
Between May 17 and 22, 12 officers of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces were detained, according to Alfredo Romero. “The commander of the Unit 20 of the Special Forces of Aviation, Lieutenant Colonel Ruperto Molina Ramírez, has just been arrested in Palo Verde by the DGCIM [General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence]. The FANB has been rattled by alleged rebellion,” writes journalist Marianella Salazar.
“So far, six Navy officers from the special operations unit, one Lieutenant Colonel of the Army, two Air Force officers from fundamental units and operatives imprisoned in the DIM [Directorate of Military Intelligence] have been arrested,” Salazar added. The military rank of lieutenant colonel is perhaps the most essential in the military world, as they are commanders of battalions and their participation in rebellions is a key factor in their success.
And on May 22 a violent situation unfolded in Petare, Caracas, when the insubordination of a sergeant ended with murdered officials.
Former National Assembly president Julio Borges said on May 23 the actual number of military detainees in recent days is much higher than the figure cited by the Foro Penal.
“In the last week there more than 200 officers have been imprisoned and detained because of rebellion. It is no longer merely a matter of discontent in the Armed Forces, it is that there is openly voiced rebellion, especially of young people, against what is happening in the country,” said the Venezuelan leader in an interview with Venezuela’s Union Radio.
There is no way for anyone to deny the tension of the situation. It is a silent rebellion, driven by hunger, arbitrariness, and shamelessness of the regime. The tragedy is that the regime’s system of intelligence and Chavista espionage – inherited from the Cubans – is efficient. But it is uncertain how much more the regime can withstand, in the face of the unpleasant reality.
This May 29 Foro Penal released a report on recent developments within the Venezuelan military. The organization’s human rights defense group denounced the arrests of two generals of the Bolivarian National Guard who were imprisoned in the wake of of the farcical elections of May 20.
Pedro Naranjo and Nelson Morales are in the headquarters of the Military Counterintelligence Directorate. They are part of another group of officers, also detained in the wake of the May 20 elections.
Venezuela has now put generals, lieutenant colonels, sergeants, and dozens of officers behind bars. It is an uprising that, for the moment, has been controlled.
The thwarted rebellion by the best officers
On May 31, journalist Sebastiana Barráez, a specialist in military affairs, published an article in Punto de Corte, which revealed the existence of an insurrectional movement whose purpose was to ignore the results of the May 20 election.
“The Special Operations Unit, are Special Forces of the military of this command group assigned to the Venezuelan Navy and the Military Aviation. It is an elite team, considered among the best of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces. Venezuelan military intelligence allegedly detected them in the preparation of a plan to confront or ignore Nicolás Maduro Moros as president of the republic and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces,” reads the article by Barráez.
The journalist points out that the objective was to overthrow Nicolás Maduro’s regime and assume power. However, the rebellion failed because they were “betrayed by a former comrade in the Navy, who today occupies a high-ranking position in the military.”
“A significant number of the detainees are from the Comando del Mar Brigade, considered the best special operations brigade in Venezuela,” writes Barráez. In addition, she notes that most of the arrests were made right around the time of the elections.
“In the FANB, it has come as a great surprise that many of these officers have been detained, because they have stood out as the best commanders in the Armed Forces,” says Barráez. Then, she concludes: “What has now become clear to Venezuelan intelligence is that this conspiracy has dimensions greater than those previously detected.”
The insurrection may well continue. Even without conspiracy, the internal situation is unbearable. On May 24, Barráez told NTN24 that a “storm” is being generated inside the barracks, caused mainly by hunger and disagreement with the Nicolás Maduro regime.