Maduro announced last night that he was “activating” 3.2 million militias, whom he claims will patrol the streets of the country until December 31 in order to “guarantee peace and a happy Christmas for Venezuela.”
The militias belong to the Milicia Bolivariana [Bolivarian Militia], which were created in 2009 as part of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. Individuals in the Milicia Bolivariana are organized into unidades populares de defensa inegral (Integral Defense Popular Units, UPDI), of which there are allegedly 63,890 throughout the country.
The militia are set to deploy tomorrow.
When making the announcement, Maduro also provided armament figures for the force. He said:
We have 321,433 rifles that are being distributed securely by [the army] to our militias.
News of the deployment of the militia force is likely to raise tensions ahead of the opposition protest planned for this coming November 16, which leaders hope will be the largest in the country since April of this year.
US Calls Carvajal’s Flight “Scandalous”
US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams spoke today on the case of Hugo Carvajal, calling his evasion of Spanish authorities “scandalous”.
Carvajal headed Venezuela’s military intelligence agency (DGCIM) for over a decade before defecting from the Maduro regime and escaping to Spain. When Washington asked Madrid to extradite Carvajal after it accused him of being a cocaine trafficker, a Spanish court ruled against the request. Last Friday, another court ruling overturned the earlier decision, opening the door for Caravajal’s extradition to the US.
Yesterday, it was reported that Spanish authorities lost track of Carvajal on Friday, and that they do not know his whereabouts.
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