Update: Eugene reminds me that the Herald is a (free) registration-required site, so here, and with absolute respect for copyright law, is an excerpt:
From street vendors to lawyers, thousands of Venezuelans are joining militia units created by the government to fight off anyone -- especially U.S. troops -- that tries to thwart President Hugo Chávez's socialist "Bolívarian revolution....''
''Venezuela is made for guerrilla war,'' [militia leader] Cabrices added, observing the closely packed apartment buildings that rise up along the mountains that surround Caracas, a city of six million people. "They'd have to take it house by house....''
Chávez regularly alleges that the U.S. government was behind an April 11, 2002, coup that briefly ousted him from power and is now plotting to kill him and invade this country.
Washington flatly denies the allegations, notes that it publicly warned about the 2002 coup and says it is concerned about Venezuela's plans for huge weapons purchases, including 100,000 Kalshnikov assault rifles, Russian helicopters, Brazilian warplanes and Spanish patrol boats....
Together, the president has vowed, the militias and the reserves will eventually number in the hundreds of thousands and be directly under his command.
Chávez opponents say that's nothing less than the creation of a private army at the service of the president....
Felipe Mujica, president of the opposition Movement to Socialism, said the goals of creating the militia units was internal control, rather than the defense of the country against a foreign aggressor.
''How can you compete in a fair electoral process'' Mujica asked, ''if you're competing with a paramilitary structure'' aligned with the government?