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Cablegate: Brv Deployment Continues to Creep Forward

VZCZCXRO7686
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHCV #0319 0662212
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 062212Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0752
INFO RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY

id: 144644
date: 3/6/2008 22:12
refid: 08CARACAS319
origin: Embassy Caracas
classification: SECRET
destination: 08CARACAS308
header:
VZCZCXRO7686
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHCV #0319 0662212
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 062212Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0752
INFO RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
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 000319

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/30/2028
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PGOV PREL CO VE
SUBJECT: BRV DEPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO CREEP FORWARD

REF: CARACAS 308

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

1. (S) SUMMARY: The deployment of Venezuelan troops to the
areas near the border of Colombia continues with some
movement being reported in local press at Fuerte Paramaracay
in Valencia and Fuerte Mara in the border state of Zulia.
This included, for the first time, reports of helicopter
movements. There is no indication of the activation of any
new units and the 42 Parachute Brigade still appears to
remain in garrison. Available open source and sensitive
reporting does not support the BRV's claims of 9,000 troops.
END SUMMARY.

Getting a Lift
--------------
2. (S) Local press observed five heavy equipment transports
(HETs) entering Fuerte Paramaracay in Valencia, home of the
41st Armored Brigade on the morning of March 5. Although
they were not seen leaving, earlier photographs show that the
HETs are capable of carrying either one AMX-30 main battle
tank or two AMX-13 light tanks configured as armored fighting
vehicles (AFVs). This would concur with other sensitive
reporting that showed seven AFVs awaiting transport in
Valencia. The press also reported and photographed a
helicopter (possibly an MI-17 HIP or an MI-26 HALO) making
two brief landings, presumably to pick up troops or command
elements on March 5.

Front Pages From the Front
--------------------------
3. (S) Regional newspapers from the border state of Zulia ran
photographs of a military column (presumably from the 1st
Division in Fuerte Mara) made up of olive drab buses and
trucks. The front page also carried a photograph of an MI-25
HIND gunship circling the highway interchange near La Chinita
airport, which confirms sensitive reporting of a HIND. A
contact at La Chinita airport told PolOff that the Venezuelan
Air Force was paying to fuel the helicopters and not
commandeering supplies.

4. (C) COMMENT: Although not every troop movement can
expect to be reported in the open press, available open
source and sensitive reporting does not support the BRV's
claims of 9,000 troops. END COMMENT.
DUDDY

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

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