HomeNewsBriefMaduro to Create Armed 'Workers Militias' in Venezuela

Maduro to Create Armed 'Workers Militias' in Venezuela


Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has announced plans to create armed "workers militias," in what would be a dramatic expansion of pro-government militias at a time of political instability and rising insecurity.

In a televised address, Maduro said he had ordered military leaders to set up "Bolivarian Workers Militias," in order to "strengthen the worker-military alliance," reported AFP.

"We will be more respected if the workers militias have 300,000, 500,000 a million, two million workers uniformed, armed, prepared to defend sovereignty, the homeland, [and] the stability of the Bolivarian Revolution," he said.

The new militias will supplement existing pro-government militias, which were founded by Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez in 2005. According to the government the militias are over 130,000 strong, but how many of these are armed and trained is a contentious point.

InSight Crime Analysis

It is currently unclear how Maduro's new militias will differ from the existing militia groups and his plan seems to be little more than an extension of a dream Chavez frequently expressed but never truly realized. On Maduro's part, the plan appears to be part of the president's strategy to rally shaky support among his Chavista base by creating a siege mentality, presenting himself as the key to defending the Bolivarian Revolution from an assault by the opposition.

Because of the logistical challenges of establishing such a force, it is doubtful that these militias will consist of millions of uniformed, armed and trained people, as Maduro hopes. However, with Venezuela riven with political instability and rising insecurity the policy is nonetheless dangerous.

Following the post-election violence that rocked the country, the expansion of pro-government militias increases the possibility of further political violence and creates an intimidating atmosphere for opposition politicians and supporters.

From a security standpoint, unless the militias are closely supervised -- and there has been little indication this has been the case so far -- then there is the risk of them engaging in criminal activities or fuelling violence in Venezuela by selling on their weapons.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.


Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


In the latest indication that the country is becoming a major operations center for international organized crime, Venezuelan officials have…


The authenticity of a photograph purporting to show one of two "nacro-planes" apparently shot down by a special armed forces…

PRISONS / 7 SEP 2012

An estimated 1,000 prisoners have escaped from Venezuelan prisons this year, according to one NGO that monitors the country's penitentiaries,…

About InSight Crime


Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…


Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…


InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…


Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…


Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…