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Caracas, Saturday March 26 , 2005  
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President Chávez establishes a military reserve against eventual US invasion

* "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," he said.
* "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 political dissidence.
* Machillanda stated that the creation of reserves weakens the military institution and seeks to transform the army into "Cuban-style militias."

* 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."

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