Photo: Venezuela al Día retrieved

The Colombian guerrillas don’t want to be allies of the Venezuelan regime anymore: they want to boss them around. They demand obedience and submission. If they don’t get it, anyone else who dares defy them from the Venezuelan territory is prone to get the treatment mandated by the laws of insurgent groups.

These laws, by the way, were praised back in the day by Hugo Chávez, who said in February 2008: “The insurgent forces of Colombia have another State, they have their own set of laws, which is applied and enforced. It’s a reality that can’t be ignored any longer.” In that same speech, the leader of the 1992 coup claimed that “Venezuela doesn’t border with Colombia but with the FARC.”

But Venezuela doesn’t just border with the FARC anymore, it’s actually become the main stage where Colombian guerrillas prowl, engaging in all sorts of businesses—legal or not—and sharing tasks with the government and the Armed Forces. The Venezuelan government protects them, but most importantly: they seem to fear them as well.

Venezuela doesn’t border with Colombia but with the FARC.

The presence of Colombian paramilitary groups in increasingly broader territories in Venezuela is no secret, because they don’t hide or deny their actions and their growing power: quite the contrary, everyone sees them controlling and managing resources in towns and cities, and openly patrolling roads. When citizens go to military checkpoints to denounce that they’ve been robbed on the roads, soldiers merely shrug and say “it’s the guerrilla…”, a clear evidence of how powerless they are about it.

In a recent interview made by journalist Javier Ignacio Mayorca with Javier Tarazona—spokesman for Fundación Redes, an institution that has documented the operation of Colombian paramilitary groups in Venezuela—Tarazona confirmed the number of Municipalities in Táchira under the ELN control and the proven existence of agents of regional and national power that allow these groups to distribute CLAP food in the area.

“You can see it—said Tarazona, referring to the brazenness of this cooperation—we’ve collected testimonies of neighbors that tell us that the guerrilla arrives with government authorities in official vehicles. There seems to be a bilateral agreement between the guerrilla and Maduro’s government for this distribution, because it’s fairly frequent. Every 22 days, they hand out CLAP boxes with the group’s propaganda. That’s evidence that they’re working together.”

In that same interview, Tarazona talks about the guerrilla’s hegemony in the mining sector where “the government’s lost control of the mines due to criminal gangs that developed in Bolívar. Maduro’s regime sees the guerrilla as a way to quell the pranes and gain joint control.”

Tarazona confirmed the number of Municipalities in Táchira under the ELN control.

But the most recent events indicate that the guerrilla’s no longer satisfied with exercising a joint control: They want everything. And the evidence is that, after the National Guard arrested Colombian citizen Luis Felipe Ortega Bernal last Sunday, AKA Garganta, famous leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who according to the Colombian Foreign Ministry was found with Venezuelan ID cards and, of course, his carnet de la patria, the ELN ambushed the Guard in Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas, killing three guards and injuring ten. Instead of retaliating as would be expected, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López merely scolded them as if they were babies having a tantrum.

Three hours after the incident, Padrino López called it an attack of “armed paramilitary groups seeking to enter our territory,” a blatant lie. They’re not mere paramilitaries: they’re guerrilla men. They don’t seek to enter, they’re already the bosses of all kinds of illegal trafficking operations in Venezuela. “We don’t want those groups in Venezuela. For now we say to them: leave Venezuela, please,” added Padrino López, with manners that stand in stark contrast with the way he deals with opposition lawmakers in the Hemiciclo, or with students that protest in the streets with cardboard shields. “Leave Venezuela, please…”

In view of such considerations, journalist Sebastiana Barráez, specialist in military sources, wrote the following thread on Twitter: “Guerrilla and paramilitaries, just like Colombian and Brazilian criminal gangs, took over our territory while the FANB remains silent. Weeks ago, the ELN murdered two Venezuelan Army officers in El Catatumbo, Zulia. Now they murdered three GNB in Amazonas. Back then, the FANB and the High Command remained quiet. The Army merely posted a mediocre tear about the dead officers on the web. […] When Rangel Silva was Defense Minister, the ELN murdered two Army officers in Baritalia del Táchira. And it was hushed. Never before have the Venezuelan Armed Forces shown such submission to the guerrilla in view of the murder of their brothers in arms. The same has happened with the paramilitaries. But after these incidents, the FANB has taken on an attitude of cowardice. Imprisoned and tortured military officers. Officers murdered by criminals. Officers murdered by the guerrilla and the paramilitaries. Meanwhile, the Military High Command babbles about anti-imperialism and revolution, because there isn’t even enough food in the barracks.”

Never before have the Venezuelan Armed Forces shown such submission to the guerrilla in view of the murder of their brothers in arms.

Two days after the massacre at Puerto Ayacucho, Maduro had linked opposition leaders Andrés Velásquez and Américo De Grazia, both from La Causa R, with “gold mafias,” and accused them of being financed by those who engage in illegal exploitation in the Orinoco Mining Arc. On a mandatory broadcast, Maduro said that “lawmakers Velásquez and De Grazia should disappear and vanish.” But he didn’t say please.

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  1. I came across this article that expands what Ms Socorro describes and puts the event in some perspective:

    Esta semana se volvieron a dar señales que indican que más que instaurar un gobierno totalitario según el modelo cubano, en el país está aconteciendo un peligroso proceso de disolución del poder del Estado sobre parte del territorio y de su población.

    “This weeks there were signs that show that more than setting a totalitarian state, according to the cuban model, the country is going through the dangerous process of the dissolution of the power of the state over the territory and its population”

    • Yeah somalia more than a 10% chance now, geography helps in cuba and Castro was evil but at lest semi-competent, Maduro is more Barras or whatever the socialist Somali’s name was.

      The problem is Ven neighbors are much stronger than the african countries they actually ahve an aerosapce industry.

      So no legal legitimate governemt menas that other government my try to get legimitay reverted if they ever had it.

  2. The Country literally basically is under local area control by many, many usually common criminal gangs, which are only punished if they kill Venezuelan military, and are not punished, if they kill Ven. military and are Colombian guerrilla gangs.

  3. Why is this shocking? Gian Carlo Di Martino (frequent contributor at Aporrea) is seen hob-nobbing with the FARC/ELN in YouTube videos.

  4. The Venezuelan army has for decades (or a century?) only focused on killing the very own people they supposed to protect.

    They shit themselves every time they have to go and actually get to do the job of defending the country. So, they negotiate first and when the counter part smell their weakness and fear, it is just a matter of time before they take the whole thing. Hence, ELN just did what ELN would do.

    Our fascist paper army can’t and won’t even defend themselves. So, it is better to shoot a student behind a makeshift cardboard shield than to confront a guerrilla with years of experience and hardened tactics thanks to drug trade. Ahh, and without food and equipment it get even harder for the becerros.

    • I trained with some Colombians many years ago. They are some tough hombres. Well disciplined, battle hardened and not afraid to fight. I am glad they are on “our side” (whatever that means to the bedwetters, I don’t know). Who has the FANB been fighting a guerrilla war with over the last 50 years?

      If bluster and bombast is all that the FANB have, any aggression by Colombia would be a cakewalk. I’m not so sure that a clean, white pair of underpants will come in very handy for the FANB. The Colombians shoot first, then accept your surrender. I don’t think they still so it, but they might take the right pinkie finger as proof that their opponent has “joined the choir eternal”.

      I am pretty sure the ELN/FARCers don’t give the FANB the least thought.

      • The Venezuelan forces still conserve some reserve of effectiveness, but likely degraded significantly from the 70’s-00’s heydays.

        OTOH, both the Colombian Forces and the ELN-FARC are just beginning to “lay down” arms, sorta.

        If there ever were to be some kind of invasion (unlikely for reasons I won’t go into here), the varsity would definitely not be the FANB, it would be the colectivos/pranes/guerrilla who pose the hardest targets.

        • agreed

          I can’t speak to the level of readiness of the FANB. I can speak to the effectiveness of the Colombian armed forces.

          I am certain there is a certain subset of Chavista zealots who would happily lay down their lives for their Eternal Commander. The Colombians would be happy to oblige them.

      • Accurate take EL Guapo, Colombian resources are not enough to take Venezuela, the only way to pay for the massive loans it will take to fund the army, is well I don’t think you want to know.

        The Col have the best Anti guerilla army but Brazil has teh more effective conventional army so a combined force will probbaly be unstoppable if you wait long enogh, Don’t get Pompey vs Cesar 45 BC on me.

  5. there are a number of folks who are now not leaving comments here. I hope they sre lurking even if not posting. Where are you MRubio

    • Oh, I’m sure many of us won’t be posting much more either:

      Anything critical of CC or Quico gets deleted.

      MRubio is the only one with the balls to stand up for the principle of it, even though his comments and tone are always well tempered, unlike myself.

      • Great Ira do not let the door hit you on the way out.It’s not about you and MRubio it is about the comments section in general.It became toxic.No one is trying to censor you.You can post and even when you put “this will get deleted” it does not.You dropping F-bombs and insulting everyone is not “freedom of speech”please get over yourself and we will see you at IraChronicles soon where you can spew all your hate.

        • Actually Jason that is not the case. It has become unpredictable as to which comments will be deleted and which comments will be left up. I for one must read my news and write my comments on my Mobil phone which is excruciatingly slow and cumbersome and even though I have never been toxic or insulting my comments we deleted and lost to the void. I asked for an explanation so I could avoid wasting my preverbial breath in the future but was ignored. Even when I wrote an email directly to the website. If it were that simple then yes it would be perfectly acceptable but it’s not the case. Unfortunately evidence of what I just said has been permanently stricken from the records here but those who were quick enough to see the comments before they got torn down know that what I say is true. I managed to get one comment recently left up and am still very scepticle as to why and how. It’s like if you slap your kid every time he opens his mouth he soon learns to stay quiet.

          • And of course not just me, many of the voices here that gave us an insider view and added great value and content to the articles were silenced that day Mr toro decided he didn’t want opposing opinions voiced at his dinner parties.

          • When you slap your kid every time he opens his mouth, that’s child abuse, which is different from having your comments posted on somebody else’s website deleted by them. Call me scepticle.

  6. Wonder who feeds these guys when they are in Venezuelan territory , probably they get clap bags paid for by the govt …….our contribution to their glorious revolutionary cause , even if lots of venezuela live on the edge of starvation because there isnt enough money to feed everyone . Just learned that there isnt just one kind of clap bag , but several , one of them is called the military clap bag ,comes with double of everything and a bag of brand A milk not the milk like slops that other clap bags carry .. A relative purchased a military clap bag to be shared between us and another relative , it cost 3.000 BS,
    Maduro blamed the Colombian govt for the killing of the 3 Venezuelan GNB and the wounding of 11 of their colleagues because it didnt keep order in its side of the border!! , they should negotiate a peace pact with the ELN guerrillas. The man is shamelessly cheeky.

  7. ELN Now Present in Half of Venezuela.

    According to Venezuelan NGO Fundación Redes, the ELN could be receiving support from Venezuela’s armed forces in the form of weapons and entry into Venezuela. It has also been alleged that the military helped the ELN to integrate with communities in Táchira, for example, by allowing the group to distribute the Venezuelan government’s subsidized food via its Local Storage and Production Committees (Comités Locales de Abastecimiento y Producción – CLAP).
    Meanwhile, radio stations, pamphlet distribution in schools, control points on rural roads and extortion (demanding 10 percent of production) in the mines have aided the ELN in gaining territory and power in Venezuela and, perhaps more importantly, the resources it uses to continue financing its criminal activities.

    More at the link.


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