Maduro Buys Military’s Loyalty with Promotions
By Ricardo Guanipa D’Erizans/Diálogo August 16, 2021
The Nicolás Maduro regime announced the list of officers it was promoting to generals, rear admirals, and vice admirals, on July 3, 2021.
“The National Armed Force announced the promotion of more than 3,000 officers and 12,000 professional troops, in all ranks and hierarchies. They also reported the promotion of 168 colonels and 15 Navy captains,” the online newspaper Venezuela redinformativa reported. “On July 2, [authorities] promoted 552 officers of the Presidential Honor Guard and the Military Counterintelligence General Directorate. On July 5, the last group will advance, including 30 Army brigadier generals and 23 rear admirals,” the news portal reported.
According to Article 331 of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Constitution, military promotions are based on merit, rank, and vacancy, and are exclusively under the jurisdiction of the National Armed Force and are subject to applicable laws.
“Currently, there is no opportunity in Venezuela to exercise constitutional control over these military promotions because, despite falling exclusively under the National Armed Force’s jurisdiction, clearly most service members have been moving up because of their loyalty to the revolution, and not because of military merit and performance,” security and defense expert Rocío San Miguel, head of Venezuelan nongovernmental organization Control Ciudadano, told the newspaper El Carabobeño on July 4.
One of Maduro’s military promotions in 2021 was the appointment as general commander of the Army of Major General Félix Ramón Osorio Guzmán, who faced several corruption allegations in the past, including for the purchase of rotten food, the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional said.
“Osorio was in charge of the Ministry of Food during two periods: from 2008 to 2010, during Hugo Chávez’ presidency, and from 2013 to 2014 under Maduro. During his first tenure, [personnel] found 65 containers of food such as chicken, milk, and grains, which were rotting. It was reported that the value of the rotten food amounted to $4.4 million,” Venezuelan news portal Noticiascandela reported. “The same story with spoiled food happened again in 2010. That year, the amount of rotten food reached a total of 116,000 tons,” the Venezuelan digital newspaper Maduradas added.