Armed groups in Venezuela

This article details the armed groups allied with the Maduro government in the current crisis in Venezuela. One key group is FAES, an elite tactical unit within the national police created in 2017 that has “morphed into little more than an extermination group.” Others are “colectivos,” armed civilian groups created under the earlier Chavez regime, accused of attacking, robbing, and kidnapping supporters of the political opposition. In addition, the Colombian guerrilla groups ELN and FARC operate in 13 of 24 Venezuelan states controlling drug trafficking and other organized crime. The allegiance of the bulk of the country’s 140,000 soldiers is uncertain, but military leadership loyalty is expected since they have been put in charge of many lucrative government and financial institutions and also “simultaneously belong to the Cartel of the Suns criminal structure.”

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