Stratfor paints scary panorama for Venezuela

November 28, 2002

Stratfor is not always right about Venezuela but in its latest report it says things like:

“Internationally mediated efforts to broker a peaceful outcome to Venezuela’s political crisis appear doomed to end in failure very soon, because Chavez is signaling that he will reject any agreement that threatens his hold on power.

For instance, the Nov. 14 takeover of the Caracas Metropolitan Police (PMC) by army and National Guard troops had two tactical objectives.

The first was to neutralize the PMC as a fighting force by seizing its command and control center and by taking physical control of its automatic weapons. The PMC’s nearly 9,000 officers could not match loyalist soldiers in firepower, but numerically they represented a threat the regime had to neutralize.

The second objective was to pre-position loyalist troops at critical PMC installations that could serve as field command posts and firebases if an urban conflict erupts between pro- and anti-Chavez military units. Now that these loyalist troops have been deployed throughout the city — and might find it difficult to re-enter Fort Tiuna if conflict breaks out — the police stations they seized could become their new temporary barracks.

Sources in Caracas tell Stratfor that Chavez also wants to seize control of other municipal police forces in the greater Caracas area, and in key states like Aragua and Carabobo.

Sources say the regime also is backed by several hundred well-armed civilian militia members in Caracas, who reportedly have received tactical and political training from loyalist FAN officers and clandestine Cuban advisers. These sources believe that an undetermined number of Colombian rebels also have infiltrated Venezuelan urban areas and may be prepared to support the regime in an armed confrontation.

The harder Chavez pushes to provoke a coup attempt, the more likely it is that his radical supporters will instigate the violence they’re trying to draw out from the opposition. Some tacticians among the opposition clearly hope Chavez will go too far and delegitimize his government with violent actions. If he exceeds democratic norms, he could be deposed and replaced with a transition regime that would have little or no difficulty obtaining recognition from the Bush administration.

Sources very close to dissident military leaders say that a violent clash between loyalist and anti-Chavez military forces easily could last a week, with hundreds of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians on both sides and substantial property damage if heavy weapons are used”

Scary stuff, I put it here because not everyone has access to Stratfor and if it happens, people should not be fooled into believing what the Government says.

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