In anticipation of a hypothetical U.S. "invasion," Venezuela is training a "guerrilla army" expected to have a million members by 2013, according to an opposition legislator.
Representative Maria Corina Machado, a former presidential candidate, said she obtained a copy of a military document that outlined a plan to train members of the regular army in guerilla tactics, preparing the country to engage in a prolonged ground war with the U.S.
Machado claimed the plan was crafted in consultation with the Cuban government and that it referred to the U.S. as the "the empire."
"The strategic objective is to build a new Bolivarian military doctrine," Machado told the AFP news agency, referring to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's pan-Latin Socialist doctrine named in honor of the 19th century Latin American freedom fighter Simon Bolivar.
The plan entails "strengthening the territorial militias, in order to ensure the necessary strength for the overall defense of the nation, targeting recruitment levels of one million by 2013 and two million by 2019," Machado added.
Chavez has often characterized the U.S. government as "imperialist aggressors" who are attempting to destabilize his government in which he has served as president since 1999.
The U.S. and Venezuela have not had formal diplomatic ties since 2008, when the American ambassador was expelled.
Machado had previously aimed to challenge Chavez for the presidency in the October elections, but lost her party's nomination to former Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles.