The “23 of January” redoubt is home to a small army of pistol-toting young men who see themselves as guardians of President Hugo Chavez’s “socialist revolution.” These die-hard Chavistas say there is no way they will let Venezuela’s “oligarchy” and its alleged Washington patrons return to power.
Beating back the opposition “would cost us blood, sweat and tears, but they won’t be back,” said Carlos Torres, the guard at the gate.
If Chavez’s populist state is indeed threatened by domestic and foreign foes as claimed, this is the defense. On alert and, in many cases on edge, are hundreds of well-armed toughs who belong to such shadowy “collectives” as La Piedrita, which have been blamed for strong-armed intimidation of political opponents and worse.
For such Chavez supporters, Monday’s call by Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas to be “on a war footing” was clearly heard.
And to answer some questions: Yes, the government did arm them and did so under the table. They are shock troops to be used whenever the opposition grows too strong or a TV or Radio Station says something that bothers the regime. You happen to say something against the Supreme Leader, be ready to fill some holes in your domicile courtesy of roving bands of the faithful.
It is never about guns, it has always been about control.
UPDATE: These are some of those “shock troops” making their presence known in front of a TV Station that would be the equivalent of Fox News in Venezuela, that is not pro government. Low ball figures: one in four has a gun concealed in him and very probably issued by the government.
Motorizados vestidos de rojo se presentaron en… by Globovision
The video also answers a couple questions: Why do we need a Second Amendment? Check! Why do we need magazines with 15-20-30 rounds? Check!
And before you can say “This will never happen here!” that is exactly what was said in Venezuela before Chavez became President.