Last February 15th two events happens, two more steps in the construction of the siege with which the regime led by Nicolás Maduro aims to maintain itself in power, at any cost. One of them, the activation of the Gran Misión Justicia Socialista, by which the functions of the FANB (National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela) increase in police work, which includes a rise of the number of militants who will participate in them. The other event is more serious: the Minister of Defense read a statement in defense of the Vice-President of the Republic, accused of being a drug trafficker by the government of the United States, and has rejected it as “interfering”.
It’s the fifth statement that the FANP releases since January 2016 until now. One of them, in April 2016, was pronounced against the Amnesty Law, that is, against the liberation of the political prisoners, Leopoldo López among them. Even though each one is referring to a specific conjuncture, the loyalty of the FANB to Maduro’s regime is ratified in all of them. Throughout this time, over and over again, the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, increasingly openly, more brazenly, assumes this position: that of a military force devoted to the stability and the peace of Venezuela, only that said peace is no other but maintaining the power indefinitely.
Padrino López does not say a word related to the figure of 94% of the population declaring to have suffered some sort of famine; not a word related to the scandalous infringements of the Constitution, such as the systematic ignorance that the Supreme Court of Justice makes of the National Assembly or the elimination of the constitutional right to choose. Not a word about the denied recall referendum or about the regional elections that should have been held in December. The Minister of Defense is not an institutional actor, but a political spokesman with military uniform. Information released on February 6th reveals that Padrino López would have affirmed, in front of an audience of officers, that the elections are an excuse to “discredit the Bolivarian government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros and turn the revolutionary process”.
As crisis in Venezuela expands and deepens, the FANB is given greater attributions. Not just in police matters, but also in topics such as the control of the state and private companies, food allocation, repression of protests and much more. Plan in pace, which aims for the total dominance of the national territory, consists in dividing the country in 99 areas — 99 quadrants according to the official neolanguage —, which allows the control of the opposition activism, wherever it happens. This is known as the Plan Patria Segura (Safe Homeland Plan), in a country where more than 28,000 people were killed by criminals in 2016, which positions Venezuela as the most dangerous country of the world.
As the onslaught against freedoms moves forward, the most recent one, the banning which will restrain Venezuelan people from accessing the CNN channel in Spanish from now on, the FANB arms itself even more, it creates quick action forces and spreads them across the entire geography, multiplies the militia units and grants them duties in public order, engages in proving the SP3 net — Peace Protection Superior System —, naming used to designate spies and whistleblowers they have started recruiting in the boroughs of the country. In other words, the Venezuelan version of the Cuban Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the CDR, created in 1960, and which have been decisive in preventing the organization of the opponents of the regime.
All these military, police and institutional forces flout the law without counterweight. They act in the daylight with full immunity. They don’t have limits. Their only objective: preventing oppositional citizens, “the internal enemy”, from continuing the fight to call elections, release the political prisoners and allow the reception of humanitarian aid in Venezuela.