Soldiers in Venezuela jailed for 'rebellion', military document says

Venezuela's security forces have arrested at least 102 members of the armed forces for alleged crimes such as rebellion and abandonment of duty since a wave of protests began against President Nicolas Maduro's government in early April, according to apparent military documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The majority of the soldiers are being held in Ramo Verde prison outside Caracas, according to the lists provided by an army official on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. 

While 13, including two army captains, were listed on charges of rebellion and treason, the large majority were reportedly being held for less serious offenses such as desertion, abandonment of duty and theft of military property that nonetheless point to a larger problem of indiscipline within the armed forces. 

The lists appear to lend credence to claims that as Venezuela's crisis deepens, the military is facing growing signs of doubt among soldiers. Maduro has been leaning on the armed forces to crush almost-daily protests that have left at least 90 people dead and hundreds injured or arrested. 

Publicly, there's been little sign of dissent on the part of the top military brass. Maduro since taking office in 2013 has greatly expanded the military's power, giving it control over the importation of food and key ministerial posts. He now appears almost daily on TV decorating top officials or standing for hours shaking hands at ceremonies to promote even mid-level officers. 

But cracks have started to appear, and many lower-ranking officers — and their extended families — are sharing the painful consequences of triple-digit inflation and widespread shortages in Venezuela.

 

 

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