In Venezuela the term paramilitary commonly used to refer to Colombian right wing criminal organizations formed during that country’s internal conflict.
In its conspiracy rhetoric the Venezuelan government often claims that groups it denominates as “paramilitary” are in the country and in cahoots with the local Venezuelan opposition engaged in “destabilizing” activities.
By explaining common crimes in Venezuela as an expression of infiltrated paramilitaries, the government also tries to blame the local opposition for the countries high levels of criminality.
Yesterday for example, the Minister of Interior, Peace and Justice, Gustavo González López, announced that intelligence officers of the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN) have “disarticulated” a “criminal paramilitary band” which acted under the name Gamma and operated in the Sucre Municipality of Miranda. Opposition leader Capriles Radonski is governor of Miranda and government officials often claim that he is protecting military groups in his state.
González Lopez informed that several arrests had been made, but that the authorities were still searching for the “financiers” of the group. He further assured that those arrested “have links with the political use of criminal gangs.”
The minister also gave his explanation of what exactly should be understood by the term paramilitary: “it is basically an answer by the structure of the economic elite, the financial elite, the political elite, which seeks to sustain itself in power, in a blunt an persistent form [de manera grosera y persistente], one way or another.”
He also again linked paramilitaries to the murder of PSUV deputy Robert Serra last year and added: “they have mutated in a perverse way, they are trying to confuse [the population] by making us believe we are facing a simple problem [problemita] of common crime. I want to warn that this is not a problem of common crime but the use of common crime by the paramilitaries.”