Attrition: Venezuela Feels a Draft


July 21, 2006: Apparently volunteers for Hugo Chavez's proposed expansion to Venezuela's security forces is running into some problems. Volunteers for the new armed militia have not been forthcoming in sufficient numbers to meet goal of two million troops. As a result, proposals for a draft are being floated. Venezuela currently has a draft, and the active forces, which number 85,000, normally include 30,000 short-term conscripts. With that small number of conscripts required (less than twenty percent of the young men coming of age each year), exemptions and deferrals can be easily had. This results in no significant opposition to conscription. But once you start eliminating all that slack, and taking a lot of people who don't want to go, unrest grows. But, then, maybe not. Chavez's militia is basically a part-time operation whose main purpose is keeping Chavez in power.


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