Intelligence: Hugo Surrounds Himself With Spies

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June 3,2008: Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, faced with growing corruption, popular unrest and uncertain loyalty in the military, has reorganized his intelligence services. The two current intelligence agencies will be replaced by four new ones. The Interior Ministry will reorganize the existing DISIP (Dirección de los Servicios de Inteligencia y Prevención, or Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services) into a General Intelligence Office and a General Counterintelligence Office. DISIP also acted like a secret police force, arresting and interrogating (often with fatal results) "enemies of the state." This was going on before Chavez came into power ten years ago. Although Chavez filled DISIP up with his own loyalists, his growing paranoia has caused him to create a multiplicity of intelligence agencies, so that the different agencies can keep an eye on each other, as well as "enemies of the state." To that end, the existing military intelligence agency will give up at least a third of its personnel in order to form a military counterintelligence agencies.

Although Chevez was elected, and re-elected, he did so via promises to the poor that he couldn't keep. His attempt to get the laws changed so he could be president-for-life failed, and his popularity ratings are plummeting. Chavez has come to see all this as an American plot to remove him from power. And that's the official reason for the reorganization. The real reason is more mundane. Chavez is well aware that successful police states the world over are more effective if there are multiple security agencies. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Especially if the eggs are armed and could remove you from power if they united against the boss.

 


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