A socialist gang supportive of the Maduro regime in Venezuela have forced the country’s only indigenous mayor out of office, local media reported on Tuesday.
The Maduro regime formed the armed gang, known as the “Working Defenders of Peace,” in the beginning of the year as a way of protecting the regime’s interests at a local level. On this occasion, the gang stormed the offices of Emilio González, mayor of the municipality of Gran Sabana in Bolívar State. According to one of those responsible, Angel Marcano, the group took such drastic steps “because only the people can save the people.”
González was later dismissed from his role by the state governor, Justo Noguera Pietri, and replaced by Chavista loyalist and former congresswoman Nancy Ascencio. While in office, González was the state’s only non-Chavista official and also the country’s only indigenous mayor. He has since fled the country to Brazil, with Ascencio claiming that Interpol has put out a “red notice” on him. Interpol has not confirmed this claim.
The “Working Defenders of Peace” is one of the many regime-backed organizations operating around the country, tasked with defending the “Bolivarian Revolution” from potential threats. Often referred to as “collectives,” they form an essential part of the regime’s socialist strategy, using coercion to control the most vulnerable and impoverished communities. Those involved are often paid considerable money in exchange for their loyalty.
Some of their common tasks include attacking the political opposition, storming and shutting down services at Catholic Churches whose priests are critical of Maduro, harassing and intimidating journalists, and generally watching over local activities for signs of opposition.
Last month, the “Working Defenders of Peace” were involved in blocking the entry of U.S.-provided aid from Brazil to Bolívar state, following orders from the regime to prevent its entry and distribution despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis faced by millions of Venezuelans. According to Argentine news outlet InfoBae, the group is currently undertaking a two-week mission around Bolivar state aimed at ensuring complete control of government at all levels.