* "National defense is a business of Venezuelans and all
should take action for comprehensive defense," President Hugo
Chávez said during his weekly radio and TV show "Hello,
President!" broadcast this time from Sabaneta de Barinas,
his place of origin. There, he also appointed -as a new position-
General Julio Quintero Viloria as the commander of national
mobilization and military reserve, accountable to the President.
* "Defense basic units should be organized," President Chávez
stated. A four-hour meeting held Saturday with the Army high
command found that the national defense capacity should be
reinforced. "We discussed the way to strengthen it, as national
defense is everybody's business and we should be prepared
in the event of any foreign army daring to invade this land,"
* "We need to get ready for a asymmetric war and show our
foes that they will regret an invasion," President Chávez
declared in express reference to the United States. He warned
that any invasion or attack against Venezuela would result
in guerrilla warfare -as in Iraq.
* The head of State anticipated that in the event of being
ousted, somebody more radical would succeed him. "Never again
will Venezuela be subject to any imperialist power. Never
again! If a foreign army dares to invade this land, it will
bite the dust," the president noted.
* Retired Colonel José Machillanda, member of the Institutional
Military Front (FIM) and expert in military matters, Monday
said President Chávez' announcement appointing General
Julio Ramón Quintero Viloria to head a 100,000-strong
reservist force is aimed at creating a parallel army to persecute
* Machillanda stated that the creation of reserves weakens
the military institution and seeks to transform the army into
* Antonio Ledezma, leader of opposition Alianza Bravo Pueblo
(ABP) party, criticized the announcement made on Sunday by
Chávez, claiming it is aimed at "confronting Venezuelans."
* Ledezma stated that Chávez "stages a show" when he
accuses the government of US President George W. Bush of plotting
to assassinate him. He considers the Venezuelan administration
is trying to create a scandal and, at the same time, "to negotiate
the purchase of Russian rifles, tanks, and airplanes."
* Venezuelan ex Defense Minister Fernando Ochoa Antich claimed
that "(President Hugo) Chávez intends to create an elite
corps at the edge of institutions and the Defense Ministry."
* According to Ochoa Antich, the President wants to be prepared
and have available a special task force to face situations
such as the failed coup attempt of April 11, 2002.
* "The President's decision to have available a national
reserve force is a matter of concern," the retired general
noted. "The fact that a general who has been retired for two
years takes up this position is also worrying, because it
runs counter to the army professional nature," he added, in
reference to the appointment of General Quintero Viloria,
the former chief of the army unified command.
* In Ochoa Antich's opinion, there is no reason to increase
the army reserve. "There is no war at all. No reserve should
be heightened and serve the President."
* He underscored the historical attempts of totalitarian
governments at having such elite corps. "These corps have
a particular ideology to serve the leader and break up any
institutional character," Ochoa noted.
* Ochoa thinks that the Venezuelan people "do not have an
education of violence to fight an asymmetric war."