Venezuela: Táchira under siege from Colombia; Maduro responds

Harsh words from Madurito, vowing to clean up the state of Táchira, in western Venezuela, on the border with Colombia. What’s got him so worked up? Read and ye will know all:

“If I have to declare a state of special exception for Táchira, I’m ready,” assured Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, referring to the siege that the state has been under from fascist groups.

In a satellite broadcast from Caracas, Maduro indicated that Táchira is being attacked from inside Colombia, and that Colombian paramilitaries have launched attacks against the Venezuelan state.

In a Council of Ministers at Miraflores Palace, the president denounced the violent individuals coming from Colombia, and the Venezuelans who are lending themselves to the plan of the Colombian right to destroy Venezuela — and in this case, destroy the state of Táchira. “We are showing them on a nationwide broadcast, who they are and what they are doing.”

From Táchira, located in the far southwest of the land, the minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, indicated that he has been evaluating the situation and stated that in the city where he was, there was a curfew “imposed by mayor Daniel Ceballos … threatening and terrorizing the people of the city.”

For that reason, Rodríguez Torres stated that he had decided to declare a state of emergency to restore order in the cities of Táchira, restore normality, and enable the citizens of San Cristóbal to live in peace.

Throughout the day there was an air of subversion. It had nothing to do with a student protest, but a plan of destabilization developing against the Venezuelan government and its institutions. “It appears that this is the fundamental epicentre of the entire operation,” said Rodríguez Torres.

President Maduro added a call to the people of Venezuela to support Táchira: “Let us stand with Táchira. Táchira will belong to Venezuela always.”

Translation mine. Here’s some more video:

You’ll notice that the minister of the Interior, Rodríguez Torres, appears in military uniform. That’s because he’s also a general. It also underscores a vital point about how the relationship between the military and the civilian spheres in Venezuela is much closer and more co-operative since Chavecito implemented Plan Bolívar in the early days of his presidency. It has nothing to do with old-style military dictatorship; rather, it’s the civilian/military Bolivarian alliance that is unique to Venezuela. The military’s job, oddly enough (and counter to what’s taught in the School of the Assassins), isn’t to repress the people, but to defend and liberate them. In this case, from a paramilitary menace that comes from just across the border…and from corrupt locals who have fallen into its clutches.

You see, the mayor of San Cristóbal has been menacing his own people. On the highways leading in and out of the city, there are roadblocks, and at them, as you can see in the pictures the minister shows, there are human-sized mannequins hanging from trees, headless. According to Rodríguez Torres, these are a common intimidation tactic among Mexican mafiosi. The mayor in question, Daniel Ceballos, has ties to those gangs (which also have close connections to the narco-paramilitaries in Colombia — and Álvaro Uribe, of course), and has clearly demonstrated them in the methods he uses against his own citizens. That’s why the Venezuelan army and national guard are down there right now: to clear the roadblocks, get rid of the menaces, and make sure that Ceballos and company are properly contained.

If you wonder why Madurito sounds so angry and emphatic when he vows to get rid of the fascists in Venezuela, now you know. We’re not talking about a bunch of college kids demonstrating in the streets here. It is a clear case of fascists from out of country, trying to foment a putsch and impose a puppet régime. And the army is not being sent out to repress Venezuelans (whose right to protest is enshrined in the Bolivarian constitution), but to make sure that those Colombian paramilitaries, who’ve been menacing Venezuela for well over a decade, don’t get any further than the border between Táchira and eastern Colombia.

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