Venezuela crisis: Maduro calls for million more militia members | Eurasia Diary -

22 July, Monday

Venezuela crisis: Maduro calls for million more militia members

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Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro has said he wants a million more people to join his civilian militia by the end of the year.

The call to expand the militia - which answers directly to Mr Maduro - comes as opposition leader Juan Guaidó seeks to persuade the Venezuelan military to abandon the president.

So far the military has stayed loyal.

US-backed Mr Guaidó declared himself acting president on 23 January, saying Mr Maduro's 2018 election was flawed.

According to the BBC's Americas regional editor Candace Piette, Mr Maduro's call to increase the militia numbers will be seen as an attempt to shield himself further both politically and physically.

The president praised the civilian militia for its readiness to "defend, with arms in hand, (the) peace, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence and the life of our homeland", during a rally in the capital, Caracas.

But he also called on the existing two million members to get involved in agriculture, as Venezuela continues to struggle with a spiraling economic crisis which has left people struggling to afford food.


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