Military Reserves

It is nearly impossible to precisely track the development of the several units variously called reserve forces, national guard and militia. Part of the problem is that, at least in USA usage, these terms are slightly interchangeable. Another obvious problem is that the fine distinctions between these formations may not be appartent to general assignment writers. Under the Chavista / Maduro goverernments, these formations have been substantially revamped, a process which has only added to the confusion. The "miltary reserve" seems to be a small formation of less than 10,000 troops, while the "civilian militia" seems to be a very poortly trained formation of several hundred thousand.

Other government reports show the actual numbers of reserves are much lower. Reserve commander Maj. Gen. Julio Quintero Viloria announced 09 June 2005 that over 50,000 reserves would be trained during the second half of 2005, according to press reports. Navy commander Vice Admiral Armando Laguna Laguna told the press in late April 2005 the Navy currently had only 2,500 reservists.

As of 2005 the number of military reserves on the rolls was unclear, but those who were mission ready were a small fraction of the 80,000 cited by Maj. Gen. Julio Quintero Viloria. As of 2003 the reserve force was no larger than 5,000. On the 20 March 2005 Alo Presidente program, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez questioned a reserve battalion commander in Barinas who said that of 3,025 registered reserves under his command, he only assembled about 700 for drills. If the military could not keep regular troops trained, it would seem unlikely that it would be able to prepare millions of reserves for combat.

The General Command of the Bolivarian Militia consists of two strata: the National Reserve, constituted by all Venezuelan citizens who are not in active military service (temporary staff of the other components), or who have completed military service or that voluntarily join the reserve units; and the militias themselves, which are composed of the Territorial Militia (geographical units) and the Combatant Corps (units made up of workers of a certain institution). The militiamen in these units fulfill periods of instruction, may be called before constitutional states of exception or possibly be able to be called to fill a position of military nature as temporary employment.

It should be clear that this "National Reserve" consists of all able bodied citizens, and is an entirely different construct from the Military Reserves.

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