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RED VZLA Urgent Request to the OTP-3

REDACTED Page 73 of 190 based on their loyalty to his regime. 290 The 1999 Constitution, implemented under Chávez, changed the traditional rule that established that the Senate had the attribution to promote the military high ranks.291 Overall, as at 2008 Chávez had expelled eight hundred military officers from the army, including high ranking officers, on suspicion of disloyalty. He established a clear structure where the “Minister of Defence is only in charge of administrative functions while the President commands the armed forces directly”292 and his reforms were threefold: “loosening restrictions on the military’s involvement in political activities, expanding the military’s role in social and economic activities and removing legislative authority over military promotions”.293 He also implemented training programmes to prepare them for conducting prolonged popular war294 and invested 10 billions in weaponry by 2013 creating a heavily militarized contingent of 350,000 soldiers.295 During the Chávez Presidency, members of the military became political actors providing bureaucratic oversight over GoV programs, conducting internal security missions and promoting economic activity. Chávez installed military men in senior positions in key GoV ministries and major state companies.296 He granted them preferential access to housing and cars and simplified loan procedures for them.297 The consolidation of the Presidency’s position at the top of the power structure also reduced accountability over the National Security Forces controlled by the Presidency and created an environment allowing the GoV to use them to enforce its political agenda including through the restriction of opposition. 298 Most importantly, Chávez’s plan included the building of a communal state grounded in self-government institutions such as community councils and communes299 and he 290 WEST, J. (2002) South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002. 10 Edition. London: Europa Publications 291 VENEZUELA. Constitution of Venezuela. Articles 150 & 236. (1961). Available from: [Accessed 24 October, 2015] 292 BRUNEAU, T.C. and MATEI, F.C. (2013) The Routledge Handbook of Civil-military Relations. Abingdon: Routledge. p.129 293 FLEISCHMANN, L. (2013) p. 45 294 BRUNEAU and MATEI. (2013) p. 129 295 WILSON, P. (2014) A Revolution in Green 296 WILSON, P. (2014) A Revolution in Green 297 WILSON, P. (2014) A Revolution in Green 298 BRUNEAU and MATEI. (2013) p.129 299 AZZELLINI, D. (2013) The Communal State: Communal Councils, Communes, and Workplace Democracy. NACLA. [Online] Available from: councils-communes-and-workplace-democracy [Accessed 7 September, 2015]; EL NACTIONAL (2014) Los colectivos y el poder. El Nacional. [Online] 23 March. Available from http://www.el- [Accessed 7 September, 2015]; EL

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