Threats of reprisals and pressures against deserting, defecting or unorthodox members of MBR-200, on the internal discipline of the party and its connections with the military, the police and criminal elements [VEN30020.E]

No reports on threats of reprisals and pressures against deserting, defecting or unorthodox members of MBR-200 nor on the internal discipline of the party could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Please note that the MBR-200 has gathered more than 100,000 signatures in 19 states of Venezuela to register as a legal and official political party under the name of Fifth Republic Movement (Movimiento Quinta República 3/4MVR) at the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) (VHeadline/VENews, 16 Jan. 1998). "According to MVR executives, the number of signatures is double the amount required by the CSE and can be taken as a sign of MVR's growing acceptance by Venezuelan citizens (ibid.)."

Along with the political parties Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and Patria Para Todos (PPT), the MVR is part of "an alliance called the 'Patriotic Pole' to strengthen Hugo Chavez Frias' presidential campaign and... incorporate more people into their camp" (ibid., 21 June 1998).

However, since the public appearance of MBR-200 in 1992, some of its supporters have been arrested on various occasions because of the government's suspicion of their participation in organizing or fomenting social unrest and subversive activities (Reuters, 6 Feb. 1996; ibid., 14 March 1995). Agence France Presse also reports that "the move to clamp down on MBR-200 ... follows an Interior Ministry investigation into alleged links between the group and Colombia's rebel National Liberation Army (14 March 1995). Those charges were denied by Hugo Chavez Frias, the leader of MBR-200, who qualified them as a "government farce" (Reuters, 17 March 1995), part of a campaign "by the Venezuelan state intelligence services to blacken his movement. (ibid.)"

More recently during the 1998 electoral campaign, The Economist reports that "Mr Chavez, whom polls credit with twice as much support as any rival ..., has repeatedly said that his opponents may try to kill him. Given the antipathy that Venezuela's elite, and some members of the armed forces, feel toward him, it is not simply absurd. Bombs have indeed been used against a few of Mr Chavez's supporters. The government has had to promise an investigation of his charges3/4and to double his bodyguard" (22 Aug. 1998, 27).

The president of the political party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), claims he has evidence that "a plot is afoot to stop Chavez Frias from reaching the presidency and that a hit-list has been drawn up against secondary targets" mainly politicians and highranking members of the clergy who joined his party (VHeadline/VENews, 18 Aug. 1998). This allegation of a plot has been strongly condemned by COPEI and AD, the main political parties, which called on the MAS to produce this evidence (ibid.).

In its relation with the military Chavez Frias has the support of some high ranking military commanders involved in the February and November 1992 attempted coups "while two former Defense Ministers are bitter opponents" (ibid., 17 May 1998).

As for MBR-200 connections with criminals, "Venezuela's new Anti-Drugs Commissioner, Raul Dominguez insists that the Anti-Drugs Committee (CNA) has no information whatsoever that Hugo Chavez Frias or any other presidential candidate is receiving laundered money from drug barons" (VHeadline/VENews, 29 July 1998).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse. 14 March 1995. Tamara Rodriguez. "Venezuela Arrests More Than 30 As Populist Leader's Impact Looms Large." (NEXIS)

The Economist. 22 August 1998. "Venezuela: Democracy at Work."

Reuters. 6 February 1996. "Venezuela-Govt Arrests MBR-200 Revolutionaries." (NEXIS)

_____. 17 March 1995. Andrew Cawthorne. "Venezuela Ex-Coup Leader Alleges Plot Against Him." (NEXIS)

_____. 14 March 1995. "Venezuelan Police Round Up Alleged Subversives." (NEXIS)

VHeadline/VENews. 18 August 1998. Patrick J. O'Donoghue. "MAS Claims Chavez Frias Is On Hit List And Smear Campaign Experts Are Coming Shortly From Brazil." [Internet] (Accessed on 8 Sept. 1998)

_____. 29 July 1998. Patrick J. O'Donoghue. "Anti-Drugs Committee Says No Evidence To Show That Chavez Frias Or Other Candidates Are On The Take From Drug Traffickers." (Accessed on 8 Sept. 1998)

_____. 21 June 1998. Patrick J. O'Donoghue. "Chavez Frias' Parties Launch Plan To Form Patriotic Pole." (Accessed on 8 Sept. 1998)

_____. 17 May 1998. Patrick J. O'Donoghue. "Replay Of 1992 Military Divisions Emerge In Venezuela's 1998 Political Arena." (Accessed on 8 Sept. 1998)

_____. 16 January 1998. Patrick J. O'Donoghue. "Commandante Chavez Registers His Party With Record Number of Signatures." (Accessed on 8 Sept. 1998)

Additional Sources Consulted

Situación de los derechos humanos en Venezuela: informe anual Octubre 1996 - Septiembre 1997. 1997. Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos, Caracas: PROVEA.

_____. informe anual Octubre 1995 - Septiembre 1996. 1996. Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos. Caracas: PROVEA.

_____. informe anual Octubre 1994 - Septiembre 1995. 1995. Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos, Caracas: PROVEA.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, Global News Bank, Internet, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).