Bolivarian Militia (Venezuela)

Country: Venezuela
Details of Formation: The PGM was created by Hugo Chavez through a decree on the armed forces.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The Bolivarian Militia serves a wide arrange of purposes, including territorial defense and ensuring public security and institutions (Wikipedia). Their main purpose seems to be to ensure political support for Hugo Chavez and act against political opposition.
Organisation: The militia is commanded by Carlos Augusto Leal Tellería, a Major General of the army. It reports directly to the president, the Defense Minister and the Operational Strategic Command and serves as an autonomous, auxiliary force to the Armed Forces’ service branches. It is divided into the National Reserve Service, the Territorial Guard Component (volunteers) and the People’s Navy Branch (Wikipedia).
Weapons and Training: The militia is armed with small arms and light weapons, as well as fire assault rifles. The group is trained at the Venezuelan army base.
Size: At the end of 2008, the militia had 850,000 members in its two branches according to its commander. In 2010, the Public Works Minister estimated the size at 120,000, and in 2012 a number between 20,000 and 200,000 is mentioned. In 2013, there were 120,000, with one quarter of these being combat ready. After the 2017 crisis in Venezuela, Maduro announced that the militia should be expanded to 500,000 members (Wikipedia).
Reason for Membership: Many members say that they benefit from free state education programmes or work as public employees. In some cases members received payments for showing up.
Treatment of Civilians: The Bolivarian militia has used violence against political opposition and critical journalists (Wikipedia). The government gave them a mandate and support so they could implement a policy of repression (Amnesty International 2017).
Other Information: --
References: Amnesty International. 2017. “Venezuela: Lethal violence, a state policy to strangle dissent.”

Wikipedia. “National Bolivarian Militia of Venezuela“. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=National_Bolivarian_Militia_of_Venezuela&oldid=828584406