|Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela|
Guardia Nacional Bolivariana de Venezuela
National Guard emblem
|Active||1937 – Present|
|Branch||National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela|
|Role||Gendarmerie, forestry protection, civil defense, public order and safety, border control, highway security, coastal security|
|Size||12 Regional Commands|
|Part of||Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior and Justice|
|Patron||Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá|
|Motto(s)||El honor es su divisa (Honor is its emblem)|
|Anniversaries||August 4, National Guard Day|
|Commanding General of the National Guard||Major General Justo Noguera Pietri|
The Venezuelan National Guard (Spanish: Guardia Nacional de Venezuela), also called the Armed Forces of Cooperation (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperación), is one of the four components of the National Armed Forces of Venezuela. The National Guard can serve as gendarmerie, perform civil defense roles, or serve as a reserve light infantry force. The national guard was founded 4 August 1937 by the then President of the Republic, General-in-Chief Eleazar López Contreras. The motto of the NG is "El Honor es su divisa" (Honor is its emblem), different from the motto of the Spanish Civil Guard.
The premise of this military corps is defined in Article 329 of the National Constitution:
The Army, the Navy and Air Force have essential responsibility the planning, execution and control of the combat operations required to assure the national defense. The National Guard will cooperate in the development of these operations and will have like basic responsibility the direction of combat operations demanded for the internal maintenance of order of the country. The National Armed Forces will be able to exert the activities of administrative police and penal investigation that the law attributes to it.
Therefore, this one component fulfills the function to offer security and to defend the sovereignty of the Venezuelan national territory, as much internally as throughout its borders, working jointly with the Army, the Navy and Aviation. At the same time, it participates respectively in operative in internal security in collaboration with the state and municipal police bodies under the direction of the Ministry of the Popular Power for Defense and the Ministry of the Popular Power of the Interior and Justice. Consequently, in case of civil unrest, it acts to dissuade and to control the protests and other public disturbances.
The National Guard traces its roots to the gendarmerie and rural police formations organized in 1811 by the National Government and in the subsequent National Police Guard raised in 1841 by President José Antonio Páez, both later disbanded.
In 1934, then Defense Minister General in Chief Eleazar López Contreras, busy with the preparations for his own presidency and in his duty of creating and expanding the national army and navy, realized the long need of public security in a time of civil unrest under President Juan Vicente Gómez, in their meetings during that year. In the middle of the year he had conversations with Venezuelan diplomat Rufino Blanco Fombona, who suggested forming a national gendarmerie modeled on the successes of the Spanish Civil Guard and on the Peruvian Civil Guard, as well as the various other police forces in South America.
Thus the idea of forming the National Guard was born.
On August 31, 1934, Ministry of War and Navy Resolution no. 188 formally created the Technical Services School, located in Fort Paez, Maracay. The school trained technical service personnel in military technologies and public security. Its Special Classes course arrived the next year.
Upon the death of General Gomez on December 17, 1935, Lopez Contreas became President. The next year, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, he ordered the raising of a National Frontier Police to protect the national borders and raised mounted security units to protect the peace in the Venezuelan plains. On that same year a Spanish military mission arrived to help form and train a fully national police force, led by Captain Cecillo Suarez of the Civil Guard. The Technical Services School's Special Classes, by that year moved to Caracas, became independent and on September 16, 1935, was disbanded. The next day a Presidential decree ordered the formation of the Public Security Agents Formation School. It opened in Villa Zolia, Caracas on October 28 the same year, with Captain Suarez as its principal guest. His speech implied the basis principles of the future national police force: As "sentinels of the people", a part of the armed forces as a public order and security service, maintaining the law and order, defending social lives and to become the "armed shoulder of the Executive Power" and as an intervening force in times of disorder.
On August 4, 1937, the National Guard was formally raised via an Presidential Decree of President Eleazar López Contreras, published in the Official Gazette. The presidential decree divided the National Guard into the National Guard of the Interior (subdivided into the Highway, Rural, Health and Urban Services) and the Frontier National Guard, and formally set its joint command under the Ministries of War and Navy and of the Interior and Justice. As a national police force it was also mandated to have its own investigations service as well. As a result, the PSAFS became first the National Police Academy and later the National Public Secuity Academy. On its first graduation on October 12, 1937, Sgt. Martin Torres gave an emotional address to his fellow graduates and to the honorary guests, thanking the Government and the Spanish military mission for forming the new service. The Mission formally organized the new service until 1941 and thus completed the Charter of the National Guard (based on the Charter of the Civil Guard), with its motto, "Honor is Our Emblem" (based on the Spanish Civil Guard motto). Thanks to their efforts the first National Guard station opened in Tachira on December 6 the same year.
In 1938, Congress formally passed the National Security Service Law. On November 8, Major Francisco de Paula Angarita Arvelo, Venezuelan Army, was appointed the first Commanding General of the National Guard, thus the NG became an independent arm of the Army. In 1940 the first officer training course was commenced. The service was hit hard by a 1941 reduction, but debuted, with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States, the Military and Police Intelligence Training courses, in 1944. On the same year, via General Orders 16 on April 13 that same year, its joint command structure and duties were amended and the service was formed into a brigade sized formation.
In 1945, the service defended the government of President Isaias Medina Angarita against a coup. In the aftermath, now Lieutenant Torres assumed the leadership of the National Guard becoming the first NG officer to become its commanding general, and the service adopted the green uniforms of the Venezuelan Army, abandoning its earlier blue uniforms. It should be noted that several of the officers of the service had earlier served in the Army before, and in the earlier days the officer corps were made up of Army officers seconded into the service.
In 1946, it became the Armed Forces of Cooperation. The National Guard Academy and the National Guardsmen Formation School were both created that year. The NGA held its first officers graduation in 1947 at its Villa Zolia campus.
A Chilean military mission led by the Carabineros de Chile helped reorganize the National Guard in the same year. Partly as a result it later expanded its responsibilities in the 1950s to include pentinenciary protection and security, maritime security, forestry protection and highway patrol duties as well as security in the tourism sector and even in dog handling. Its present formation of 12 regional commands dates from 1950 when the 1st Regional Command was raised.
Today, the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has arranged for the National Guard to collaborate with the citizens in activities of cooperation, protection, security, defense and also in social programs or missions to benefit the enrtire population, according to the provisions of the Constitution of 1999. In addition the VNG has been expanding its roles to answer the growing needs of its missions of national security in the land, air and sea and of protecting the people of Venezuela.
2012 marked the 75th Anniversary since the foundation of the National Guard in 1937.
The National Guard today is formed into 12 (soon 15) brigade sized regional commands with battalion or regiment sized formations of various specialities under them.
The National Guard is structured as follows.
Commando General de la Guardia Nacional (Headquarters, National Guard) - Caracas
- Commanding General of the National Guard (as of 2013): Major General Justo Noguera Pietri
- General Staff of the National Guard: Chief of Staff of the National Guard: Divisional General Orlando Alexis Rodríguez
- Inspector General's Command: Inspector General of the National Guard: Divisional General Franklin Marquez Jaimes
- Personnel Command: Commanding General, Personnel Command: Divisional General Danilo Tello Yaguaramay
- Logistics Command: Director General, Logistics Command: Divisional General Eustiquio Lugo Gómez
- Operations Command: Operations Director of the National Guard: Divisional General Antonio Benavides Torres
Controls eight or more Mobile Detachments of battalion size available for deployment to any area of the country in response to threats to internal security or border security.
The command has under its control all nine regional commands which control local battalion-sized National Guard detachments which provide static defense of certain public buildings, oil installations, and penal institutions (the latter duties now shared with the Policia Nacional Bolivariana) and for the maintenance of public security. Additionally, they patrol the nation's highway system, functioning as a federal highway police force. They also serve as the nation's coast guard and maritime search and rescue service, co-sharing with the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela's Coast Guard Command in this duty in the coastal states.
- Regional Command 1 San Antonio de Tachira, Tachira State
- Regional Command 2 Valencia, Carabobo State
- Regional Command 3 Maracaibo, Zulia State
- Regional Command 4 Barquisimeto, Lara State
- Regional Command 5 Caracas, Capital District
- Regional Command 6 San Fernando de Apure, Apure State
- Regional Command 7 Barcelona, Anzoategui State
- Regional Command 8 Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar State
- Regional Command 9 Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas State
- Air Operations Command (Air National Guard)
- Coastal Vigilance Command
- National Guard Customs Security Service
- National Guard Frontier Detachments
- National Guard Public Order Units
- Education Command: Commander, Education Command: Divisional General Giuseppe Cacioppo Oliveri
- National Guard Academy
- National Guard Formation Schools
- Special Operations Command
- Commando Action Group of the National Guard
- National Guard Rural Commando Detachments
- People's Guards National Command: Commander, People's Guards Command: Brigadier General Sergio Rivero Marcano
Created by Hugo Chávez in 2011 for Guardsmen mandated for police protection alongside the Bolivarian National Police and aimed at keeping peace and order as well as fighting against drug-related and alcohol-related crimes and the illegal arms and drug trade in the country. They also help in public works repairs and ensuring security during major holidays. The service today is composed of state level People's Guards regiments in 3 of the States of Venezuela and the Venezuelan Capital District, with more to be raised in the coming years.
- Anti-Drugs National Command
This command is in charge of combating the use and spread of illegal drugs in Venezuela and works with other South American police forces in fighting the illegal drug trade in the continent.
- National Guard Environmental Security Service Directorate
Mandated for the protection of Venezuela's natural resources, especially the ancestral lands of its indigenous peoples, and the enforcement of environmental laws.
- Social Action Division of the National Guard (in the planning stages)
- Anti-Extortion and Sequestration National Command
The newest command of the National Guard mandated to counter financial crimes and serious criminal activities formed up of the National Guard Anti-Extortion and Sequestration Groups in every Venezuelan state, created via Ministerial Resolution of the Ministry of Defense No. 000568 on April 4, 2013. All the states plus the Capital District have one AESG detachment each to fight serious crimes.
The VNG is an all volunteer force with over 35,000 men, recruits undergo a two-year basic training course at the Ramo Verde Formation School at Los Teques. Officer candidates were required to study for an additional four years at the Officers Training Academy of the National Guard in Caracas. Postgraduate studies for officers were available at the Advanced Officers School at Caricuao, near Caracas.
Uniforms and Equipment
The VNG wears the same ranks and uniforms as the Venezuelan Army.
|Russia||Kalashnikov AK-103||100,000+ Purchased in 2006 with ammunition for $52 million. Two contracts signed in 2006 for $474.6 million to produce AK-103s.||200px|
|Belgium||FN Herstal FAL||Unknown number|
|Germany||Walther G22||Unknown number|
It possesses over forty Unimog UR-416 wheeled armored personnel carriers and Walther G22 on airports. It acquired 141 Chinese VN-4 4x4 wheeled armored vehicles in 2012, and 50 in 2013. In July 2013, it ordered Chinese Type 63A light tanks.
|China||NORINCO VN-4 4x4||Armoured Personnel Carrier||656 (Originally 191 purchased, 300 more ordered during the 2014 Venezuelan protests, 165 more ordered during the 2017 Venezuelan protests)||During the 2014-17 Venezuelan protests, the VN-4 was used by the Bolivarian National Guard against protesters who opposed the government of President Nicolas Maduro.|
|Germany||Unimog UR-416||Armoured Personnel Carrier||Unknown number|
The Air National Guard Command operates over 50 fixed-wing light aircraft and helicopters.
|USA||Bell 206 Jet Ranger||Unknown number.|
|Israel||IAI Arava||Unknown number|
|Poland||PZL M26 Iskierka||2|
|Poland||PZL M28 Skytruck||13|
It also employs eighty small craft for its coastal and river patrol duties as part of its Naval Coastal Vigilance Command.
The lyrics were written by Gabriel Torres Thumb, whereas the music is of Ricardo Lleras Codazzi.
- - Choir -
- Before God and the Fatherland we swear
- with sincere and deep emotion,
- to receive the motto of our duty
- and honor for its highest piece. (repeat)
- - I -
- Delinquents you hear! We protected, we protected
- the sacred empire's laws,
- the workers, the home, the state,
- the mission is diverse but hard.
- The borders, the coasts and the plains,
- the mountain ranges, fields, cities, small villages.
- Everything for you, everything for you, Venezuela,
- you will see us against the vile enemies. (Last line 2x)
- - II -
- Compatriots or not: The guarantee, the guarantee
- we will offer the good citizen,
- to the disabled person, the boy, the old one,
- based on social justice's function.
- And to you, Fatherland, at times of battle,
- or to the heat of your civic battles,
- these notes will arrive that all listens
- as a hymn of love and loyalty. (last line 2x)
- "Ejército Bolivariano / Ejército de Venezuela Ground Forces or Army Fuerzas Terrestres or Ejercito". http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/venezuela/army.htm. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- National Guard of Venezuela will receive more Chinese-made Norinco VN4 vehicles - Armyrecognition.com, March 12, 2013
- Venezuela; National Guard incepts new batch of Chinese armored 4 × 4 - Dmilt.com, April 14, 2013
- Venezuela; National Guard orders Chinese light tanks - Dmilt.com, 22 July 2013
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- María Delgado, Antonio (12 June 2017). "Maduro importa blindados de combate en vez de alimentos en medio de crisis venezolana" (in en). El Nuevo Herald. http://www.elnuevoherald.com/noticias/mundo/america-latina/venezuela-es/article155771569.html. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
- "Chinese systems get 'combat experience' in Venezuela". IHS Jane's. http://www.janes.com/article/34752/chinese-systems-get-combat-experience-in-venezuela. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- Official site of the National Guard of Venezuela (Spanish)
- Official site of the Ministry for the Defense of Venezuela (Spanish)
- VNG at Country Data
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