Venezuela: The Covert War Against the People and Their Armed Forces

Rubén Castillo

To talk about guarimbas in Venezuela is to go back to what happened between February 27 and March 4, 2004 (yes, my friend, guarimbas have been around for 13 years).  At that time the plan was to delegitimize the government of Commandante Hugo Chavez to justify a foreign military intervention, based on the thesis of ungovernability and violation of human rights by state security agencies. This insurrectional strategic operation left 50 dead and 193 wounded.

What is currently underway does not differ in objective or methodology, but the strategies have mutated into a more specialized, violent, organized, synchronized, focused expression.

This causes us to question whether government agencies should continue to identify these agents as guarimbas or as Coordinated Military Operations, carried out by irregular forces disguised as civil groups. The former designation only  permits them to expand their range of operations in the escalations of violence and anarchy throughout the country, especially in strategic points of the capital of the Republic.

Analyzing  the current context, we perceive the uncertainty that these operations generate, since in this new phase their pace is not as dizzying as in 2004 and 2014.

We must be clear that this new phase of destabilization implemented by the enemy proves there is a high degree of internal organization revealed at the moment of execution. This was evident a few days ago in the localities of San Martín and El Valle , where “hooded guarimberos of a building” and “armed people of the neighborhood” were synchronized to besiege security forces whose mission was both to protect the inhabitants of the area and avoid damage and looting of public and private property. It is worrying to see such high levels of organization combined with specialized training and a well-studied plan, so completely distinct from the spontaneous manifestations witnessed in  2004.

At that time, the ultra-right-wing declared enemy of the Bolivarian Revolution and Internet propeller of this method of irregular warfare, Robert Alonso, defined it as follows:

“The guarimba is a totally anarchic act and everyone does what comes in earnest depending on the degree of frustration and guaranty he possesses.”

We ask:

How is it that a “totally anarchic, spontaneous and sovereign act” shows such a high degree of synchronization, targeting and selectivity at the moment of execution by individual actors, where the majority does not have any military training?

We are faced with an enemy army highly prepared in the application of irregular force, which at the moment has a single mission: the precise and incisive attack on our security forces, where military and police officers are wounded.

Such was the case of Sergeant Neomar Barrios, killed in Miranda state on April 19 and the director of Policaracas wounded in San Martín on April 25, to name a few.

On 26 April, in the Sucre urbanization of Barquisimeto, the communication apparatus of the internal enemy (private media and social networks) developed the same matrix of opinion (propaganda) of recent days: repression by the security agencies towards the ” inhabitants “who were exercising their” free right “to protest.

There are no spontaneous acts by’ guarimbas’

They conceal, in a treacherous way, that the fire started on the roof of one of the towers of this residential complex sought to isolate the five officials of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), driving them into a bottleneck, where they would be injured or killed.

Tactics such as these show the level of preparation and combat intelligence that must be had, with the minimum use of resources and firepower, to attack an enemy that  thwarts their interests. In military slang it is known as “nullification of an enemy force through the knowledge of the terrain“, a tactic that allows one to take a strategic position giving advantage in hand-to-hand combat, something that a common civilian population, without prior military preparation, would be unable to apply, much less when protests are described as “spontaneous and unplanned.”

Balances like the two military of the FANB, ten GNB, 24 officials of the National Police and 21 police of the Táchira in San Cristóbal, or like the two GNB wounded in Caracas, or that La Carlota, a military base , has been attacked twice in less than a month, do not comply with the stereotyped profile of the guarimba.

This new phase of siege seeks to launch direct, coordinated attacks against the security forces in different parts of the country to physically and psychologically wear them down , to disquiet and demoralize them in the exercise of their duties, until they neutralize them through the progressive and relentless  use of force.

Under the protection of a maxim known by the population: “Our security apparatus has strictly prohibited the use of lethal force in demonstrations,” translates into advantage for the enemy who understands that his physical integrity will never be compromised. This allows the enemy, disguised as “civil groups exercising their right to protest”, to attack in an effective and efficient way, beyond the tactics allowed for demonstrations, established in the Constitution and international agreements signed by the Republic.

The Government has no way of justifying a frontal attack against these insurgent groups without being condemned by the international community.

The laws imposed by the powerful serve, as always, to control power at their convenience and when they need it. Reduced in their options in the field of combat, the state falls into a kind of dictatorial coercion, all to play under the rules that the global enemy imposes through the establishment itself.

Another feature that dismantles the matrix that such military operations are simple spontaneous acts of civil society lies in the previous tests, made to measure the state’s responsiveness, is the media impact of destabilizing actions. On 10 April in Las Mercedes, where the GNB seized a large load of Molotov bombs, a PNB official was wounded and the attack on a smaller private health center in a manner similar to  what was practiced in El Valle days later.  There was  a pattern in the location and execution times, always leaving a day in between (a day in El Valle, rest, San Martin, rest, Merida, rest, Barquisimeto …), which shows that “spontaneity” is just a deceptive smokescreen.

It is notorious the way tactics  are deployed against the security agencies, as happened in the Valley and San Martin,  attacking in perfect flank formation in concerted waves.

The most worrying thing is the dangerous territorial progress towards Miraflores. They are currently 11 blocks from the palace.  Taking into account that an assault rifle has an effective range of 2.5 kilometers, it is relevant to consider that a  more sophisticated military weapon can easily surpass that distance. We can not rule out that they are preparing a rush against the Palace of Miraflores.

Ungovernability is your true interest

We can not rule out that they are preparing a rush against the Palace of Miraflores, the symbolic value it has for Venezuelans is such that a failed or successful attack would be a trigger of extremely dangerous reactionary response.

Let’s not forget that in 2016 the enemy was only a few hundred meters away from that structure , positioned in improvised paramilitary camps, with the clear objective of a direct attack against the Presidential Palace, or a plan of assassination.  The type of weaponry and ammunition intended for snipers was found on the site. The guarimbas can be the perfect curtain for these armed groups to gradually gain the ground they need to reach Miraflores without raising suspicions to their original plan.

The libretto designed by the interested parties indicates that, in view of the free and sovereign decision to withdraw from the Organization of American States (OAS), and the masterly move to convene a National Constituent Assembly, the plan of opposing actors (internal and external ) could enter a new and even more aggressive and systematic phase, as it did in Kiev between November 2013 and February 2014.

The so-called Euromaidan was triggered by the Ukrainian government’s refusal to sign an economic partnership agreement with the European Union, which was a mere excuse for the powers that be to propitiate a coup that was already underway with the implementation of the color revolution. The enemy would take advantage of this opportunity to exploit this display of sovereignty, dignity and self-determination shown by the government of Nicolás Maduro and attack from all possible sides (international community, internal enemies, etc.).

It is therefore no accident that the recent terrorist acts in Cabudare, Lara State, where a pvvsa gandola loaded with fuel was hijacked and  after several hours of retention ended up being burned, or, for example, vandalism and looting. They tried to perpetrate (and still insist on carrying out, only organized people have not allowed them) in Naguanagua, Carabobo state, where they also caught a gandola full of food, are the direct responses of these groups, showing that their agenda is not peace, dialogue or national reconciliation as they preach, but on the contrary: they know that their agenda is to propitiate a failed state, a lawless state that allows an eventual “reconstruction of the country” in the hands of transnational and corporate powers. Ungovernability is their real interest. Of that that does not leave the slightest doubt.

The facts are clear: they know the strategic importance that Venezuela has in the global geopolitical arena, at a time when international tensions preclude an imminent global conflagration,  controlling our resources is imperative.

Venezuela served as a logistical contingent in the First and Second World War, and before this imminent armed conflict, the panorama is no different. It is crucial that we, as a people, monitor and dismantle these Coordinated Military Operations in a timely manner, in addition to continuing to rely on our security apparatus, the Political High Command and fellow President Nicolás Maduro, who has been trying to defeat the violence and continue to bet on Peace, giving us the most revolutionary tool to defeat the enemy, out of combat through the constituent power, that original power that only resides in the hands of the people.

The covert operations under the illusion of peaceful protests seeks to shatter the civic-military union that exists between the revolutionary people and its armed forces.

We are determined to be a sovereign people and as such, we must be prepared for the extremely complicated and violent time ahead.