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Thu Mar 7, 2013, 07:26 PM

The wild card in Venezuela: armed Chavistas [View all]

Source: AP-Excite

By FABIOLA SANCHEZ and FRANK BAJAK

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Carlos Torres opens the wire-fence gate to a neighborhood controlled by the La Piedrita gang that even police don't enter without permission.

"Loyal to Comandante Chavez," reads a banner just inside the 23 of January redoubt in western Caracas. The poor neighborhood is home to a small army of pistol-toting young men who, like Torres, see themselves as guardians of President Hugo Chavez's "socialist revolution."

These die-hard Chavistas say there is no way they will let Venezuela's "oligarchy" and its alleged Washington patrons to return to power.

"That would cost us blood, sweat and tears, but they won't be back," he said.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20130307/DA4SGFR83.html





In this Sept. 16, 2010 file photo, a man walks past a mural of Jesus Christ holding a machine gun alongside the words in Spanish "La Piedrita Will Overcome" in the La Piedrita area of the 23 of January neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela. On alert, and some apparently on edge, are hundreds of well-armed toughs spread through the hills of metropolitan Caracas who have been blamed for strong-armed intimidation of political opponents of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez and worse. As Venezuela ponders the next steps after Chavez's death Tuesday, the late leader's most uncompromising, and radical supporters make up a menacing unknown in a country brimming with guns and afflicted by the world's second-highest murder rate. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos, File)

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