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Cablegate: Minimal Brv Armed Forces Response to Deployment

VZCZCXYZ0259
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #0293 0641906
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 041906Z MAR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0727
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY

id: 144234
date: 3/4/2008 19:06
refid: 08CARACAS293
origin: Embassy Caracas
classification: SECRET//NOFORN
destination: 08CARACAS283
header:
VZCZCXYZ0259
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHCV #0293 0641906
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 041906Z MAR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0727
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY


----------------- header ends ----------------

S E C R E T CARACAS 000293

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2018
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PGOV PHUM PREL VE CO
SUBJECT: MINIMAL BRV ARMED FORCES RESPONSE TO DEPLOYMENT
ORDER

REF: CARACAS 283

Classified By: Robert Downes, Political Counselor,
for Reason 1.4(d)

1. (S) SUMMARY: Nearly 48 hours after Chavez ordered ten
battalions to the Colombian border, there has been only small
scale movements of troops or equipment from major combat
units. Less than 12 light tanks or armored fighting vehicles
have been seen preparing for movement at Carora in the
western state of Lara and at Fuerte Mara in the border state
of Zulia. Despite confident interviews by the commanding
general in the local press, no units of the IV Armored
Division - including the presumably highly mobile 42nd
Parachute Brigade - have deployed. END SUMMARY.


Fuerte Mara, First to Fight?
----------------------------
2. (S) Fuerte Mara in Zulia is 55 kilometers from the
Colombian border. Local press reported seeing six light
tanks on flatbed trucks entering Fuerte Mara on the afternoon
of March 3, followed by a convoy of soldiers in trucks a few
hours later. Maracaibo contacts also reported OV-10 Bronco
aircraft flying over the city. Other sources identified the
armor as French AMX-13 light tanks. Fuerte Mara is home to
the "Apure Braves" Armored Battalion, the 112 Mechanized
Infantry Battalion and the 105 Engineering Battalion of the
First Infantry Division.

Carora
-------
3. (S) The Carora barracks are 300 Km from the border in the
western state of Lara. Sources report five French-made
AMX-30 main battle tanks and accompanying cargo trucks were
being made ready for transport. The front page of a
Venezuelan tabloid showed two British-made Spartan Armored
Fighting Vehicles (AFV) with "Lara" markings on a commercial
trailer. (Note: Modern tanks and AFVs are trucked to the
front, saving fuel as well as wear and tear on the vehicles
treads. A shortage of Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET) in
the Army will restrict their ability to move units quickly.
End Note)

Other Units
-----------
4. (S) According to the local press, units of Venezuela's IV
Division in Valencia and Maracay have executed a recall order
bringing troops in from leave. Although General Tineo Pena
told the local press that "they are on alert" he said they
were awaiting further orders. Other sources report about 30
tanks and AFVs are being prepared for movement. There has
been no indication of movement at the 42nd Parachute Brigade.

5. (C) Comment: A lack of training, rehearsal and failure to
invest in unglamorous military equipment like trailers and
cargo planes has slowed the Venezuelan military's
mobilization. This may explain the lack of patriotic visuals,
from this otherwise propaganda savvy leader, of troops
marching to the front. End Comment.
DUDDY

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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