The armed forces of Venezuela began anti-imperialist drills this Friday to prepare military and civilian deployment across the country for “integral” defense.
"This is an anti-imperialist exercise of integral action to prepare the people for the defense of the nation, and that will allow progress in consolidating and strengthening military doctrine to raise operational readiness and Bolivarian thinking," said the second commander of the Strategic Operational Command of the forces, Remigio Ceballos.
The drill, dubbed the Integral Anti-Imperialist Action Zamora 200, was organized on Dec. 28 to increase public awareness and ownership over the defense of national sovereignty and independence, according to Ceballos. It will include not only members of the armed forces, but also firefighters, community organizers, civil protection forces and the National Bolivarian Militia, a group of civil militias organized under the late Hugo Chavez to complement the army.
About 562 air, naval and land-based forces participated in the drill, bringing together more than 115,000 men and women across the nation. The drill will prepare for Saturday’s exercise, which expects around 76,000 soldiers and 400,000 civilians, said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.
“We are guaranteeing the human rights of everyone as the Constitution lays out,” said Padrino Lopez, who said that the exercise has international-grade weaponry and broad popular support from social movements.
He added that the goal is to win the war without fighting, and that the exercise was inspired by the “internal conflict sewn by political violence and special, psychological, cyber and media warfare.”The drill is named after Ezequiel Zamora, a Venezuelan general who fought for independence and agrarian reform and is memorialized as “the general of the sovereign people.”