Infantería de Marina Bolivariana
Infantería de Marina Venezolana
The Venezuelan Marine Corps (Infantería de Marina Venezolana-IMV) consists of approximately 5,000 members and engages in primarily riverine operations against drug traffickers. It is subordinate to the Venezeulan Navy.
The origin of the Venezuelan Marines goes back to period surrounding independence from Spain, when marines primarily fought on ships and were used for boarding enemy ships and landing parties against regular infantry.
On the 22nd of July, 1822, with an urgent necessity to establish an amphibious force, General Francisco De Paula Santander, Vice-President of the Republic, created a Naval infantry battalion by decree. After the dissolution of Gran Colmbia in 1830, the Venezuelan Marines were placed to guarantee the defense of the coasts.
In 1945, on December 11th, by Presidential Resolution No. 107, the 1st Marine infantry battalion was created and based at the lighthouse of Puerto Cabella. The Marines mark this date as the foundation of their corps, which they refer to as their 'noble weapon.' Later on, the batallion was moved east to Maiquetía. The 2nd Marine Infantry Battalion was created on the 4th of February, 1946, and located at Puerto Cabella. Two more battallions were created in 1958 and 1961, respectively baed at Carúpano and Punto Fijo. In response to demands of serving in the country, the organization underwent significant re-orientations with the creation of support units such as, the Artillery battalion, Amphibious Communications, Engineering, vehicles, and a Unit of Recognition.
Between the years 1975 and 1994, the Marines underwent two adjustments in their organization to adtap to the necessities of the National movement. The date December 11th, 2000, is celebrated by the Marines as the day they were elevated to the level of Division due to the institutional support of the Commander-in-chief of the Navy and the iron support of the Gentleman President of the Boliviarian Republic of Venezuela.
On the 15th of October, 2003, the Shore Patrol Command was reincorporated in the ranks of the infantry division "Marine General Simon Bolivar, the Great Marshal of Ayacucho." On April 5th, 2005, the Body of Engineers was created and given automony from the Marine Corps. They were then assigned to a seperate military command of the Navy by resolution No. DG-031764 on July 21, with accordance to the disposition of the Citizen President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as well with agreement to articles 54, 55, and 62, of the statutory law of the Nationl Armed Forces.
The brigade of the Shore Patrol, "Great Marshal of Ayacucho, Antonios Jose de Sucre," was placed under the operational and administrative control of the Commandant of Naval Operations on April 29th, 2005. This ended its the dependence on the infantry division of the Navy "General Simon Bolivar" and accquired the title "Shore Patrol Command," by radiogram 0571 on May 2nd, 2005. The Marines were once again reorganized with an ample vision of the future with a clear and feasible way to contribute to national develope; as well as to constitute an arm of the directives of the Venezuelan Navy. The Marines claim," They continue to exert the projection of ground and naval supremacy, now with more force and forcefulness than ever before."
The Venezuelan Navy announced via their website that an assortment of civic action programs and military exercises under the heading Armada Socialista I-2008 would commence in June. According to exercise commander Vice Admiral Luis Alberto Morales Marquez, events would include weapons systems verifications, humanitarian outreach, national development projects, an Army artillery exercise, and an FAV live fire exercise involving a missile from a Venezuelan Su-30 FLANKER. Chavez announced on television that he was undergoing training to ride in the two-seat multi-role jet and fire the first missile. The regional newspaper "El Carobobeno" reported on 26 May 2008 that an amphibious landing involving the General Carlos Soublette naval infantry brigade under the command of RADM Belisario Martinez would occur somewhere along the coast as part of the exercise. The article also mentioned that RADM Moises Navarro would command the amphibious task force.
The prior naval exercise, Armada Socialista II-2007, had an amphibious landing and featured a simulated coastal defense with active duty and civilian militias known as the Territorial Guard (GT). According to Rocio San Miguel of the watchdog NGO Citizen Control, less than half of the expected GT members reported for duty. Not only had turn out been low, but many of those who did report were without uniforms or equipment and were handed sticks when rifles were not available.
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