Venezuela Defense and Security

By | December 16, 2021

During the first decade of the twenty-first century, Venezuelan military spending increased by more than 120%, thanks to both economic growth and rich oil revenues, reducing only in part due to the financial crisis that began in 2008. For some observers, this is true. it owes to the threats that have weighed on Venezuela since Hugo Chávez made it the champion of the anti-American axis. For others, military spending instead they would be the coherent reflection of his expansionist drive, although in reality the two reasons are not mutually exclusive. In addition to deterring potential enemies, in this case the US and Colombia, and guaranteeing its support for Bolivarian allies, the growth of military potential is the result of a doctrine that aims to modernize the armed forces by equipping them with technologically advanced weapons, to cultivate consensus of the military towards the regime and to increase the military training of the civilian population, sanctioned in 2009 with the recognition of status military to the Bolivarian militia, wanted by the government at any cost. In the context of the arms race and the strong tensions that have characterized relations with Colombia on several occasions, the loan of 2.2 billion dollars contracted by Venezuela with Russia for the purchase of anti- planes and tanks. The persistent tensions in the region, caused both by the internal Colombian war and the US military presence in the Andean country, and by the ideological radicalism of the government of Caracas, suggest that Venezuela’s military build-up will not be suspended in the short term. For Venezuela defense and foreign policy, please check

The ‘frozen’ dialogue of peace

In response to popular protests and the country’s political and socio-economic crisis, representatives of the Venezuelan government and the opposition met on 10 April 2014 in the presidential palace of Miraflores in Caracas, giving life to the national dialogue for peace in Venezuela. The conference was established under pressure from the Holy See – represented by the apostolic nuncio Aldo Giordano – of the foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador and with the help of Unasur. Representing the government, President Nicolás Maduro and his deputy Jorge Arreaza took part in the meetings, while Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, secretary of Unidàd Democratica (Mud), was appointed as sole spokesperson for the opposition. Despite the attempt at conciliation, the dialogue is proving particularly complex due to the unwillingness of both sides to seek a common political strategy to overcome the crisis. As Aveledo explained a few weeks after the first meetings, at the moment, “the bilateral dialogue is frozen.” Student protests in Venezuela have been going on for months now and seem to have no respite. As of December 2014, following the anti-government demonstrations, there were 42 dead, 800 injured and about 3,000 arrests in the country

The Chavista legacy, Venezuela and the return of Alb a

Two years after Chávez’s death, the Latin region linked to Chavismo in Bolivarian sauce still finds itself the orphan of a charismatic leader capable of also assuming the legacy of a regional leadership. Despite the passing of the baton from Chávez to Maduro, something has changed. The lesser charisma and ability of the successor, but above all the Venezuelan political and socio-economic crisis have considerably reduced the role of the country in the sub-continental geopolitical dynamics. A condition that has become manifest also in the intentions of the successor of the caudillo Barinas who, with a slow but steady process, is breaking free from the regional policy of economic aid – in particular oil – of his predecessor to pursue a policy much more geared towards internal issues. Above all, the Alba (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), the Bolivarian political, social and economic cooperation project between the countries of South America, born in 2004 by the will of Chávez and Fidel Castro as opposed to regional integration initiatives free trade such as Mercosur or Alca (Free Trade Zone of the Americas). Alba has eight member countries – Antigua & Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and St. Vincent & Grenadines – and as long as it was led by Chávez it was able to contain North American influence in the southern space of the continent by politically replacing the OAS (Organization of American States). At the same time, the Alba has proved to be a useful tool for increasing the Venezuelan geopolitical weight in the continent in an anti-Brazil function, the only true regional power.

Venezuela Defense and Security