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

COLOMBIA / 11 JAN 2022

The 10th Front of the FARC dissidence isn’t letting up. After simultaneously heading off multiple enemies on Venezuelan soil, the…


A long-touted police reform in Venezuela would likely have a limited impact on rampant corruption in the ranks.

COCAINE / 21 DEC 2022

Venezuelan authorities claim to have destroyed 40 tons of drugs this year. But are they being fully transparent about their…

About InSight Crime


Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…


Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…


World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…


InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…


Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…