January 24, 2010: The Venezuelan Navy is doubling the size of its Marine Corps, by adding another two brigades. The marines also contain two brigades of river police, which used to be a separate organization. The two new marine brigades will take a few years to get trained up to a standard close to that of the existing two brigades. It's possible that the entire Marine Corps may become less effective, as president Hugo Chavez has been forcing the military to undergo a series of reforms that place less emphasis on traditional training and readiness, and more on political correctness and loyalty to Chavez.
Moreover, Chavez's weapons buying spree, and his attempts to create a "Bolivarian" defense strategy, is having a deleterious effect of the efficiency of the armed forces. Despite Chavez's efforts to "Bolivarianize" (introduce "radical and revolutionary" concepts) the armed forces, many officers are trying to maintain professional standards. Naturally, active military officers are reluctant to speak out. But retired ones have been doing so, often from exile. It's been pointed out, for example, that the armed forces cannot absorb much of the new equipment. For example, while the government has purchased 24 Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, the Venezuelan Air Force lacks the experience, training, and equipment necessary to service and maintain the aircraft. Similarly, the purchase of 100,000 AK-series assault rifles, came at a time when the Venezuelan Army had just begun to introduce a totally different weapon.