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Country Risk

Further rank-and-file mutinies likely in Venezuela

22 January 2019
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Key Points

  • A total of 43 guardsmen have been arrested after, according to Venezuelan officials, attempting to steal weapons from a military barracks in Petare, Caracas.
  • Their arrest has sparked anti-government protests in traditionally chavista areas located to the west of Caracas, including in places such as Cotiza, 23 de Enero, El Valle, and Antímano.
  • The top military command remains loyal to President Maduro. Such loyalty, however, will likely be stretched if the protests escalate and the government violently represses unrest in shanty towns. The use of force against those living in these areas would likely accelerate discontent among junior ranks and middle-ranking officers, increasing the probability of new insurrections taking place.

Event

A mutiny by national guardsmen on 21 January has sparked violent anti-government unrest in Venezuela’s capital Caracas.

Forty-three members of the National Guard were arrested on 21 January after delivering a message through social media calling on the armed forces not to recognise President Nicolas Maduro, and for their participation in anti-government protests. A statement from Minister of Defence Padrino López claimed that the arrestees, all from 43 Command of the National Guard, had stolen weapons from a barracks in the locality of Petare in the Caracas Sucre municipality that same day.

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