Speed Reads

crisis in venezuela

Reuters: More than 120 Venezuelan soldiers have been detained since start of protests

Anti-government protests began springing up across Venezuela in late March, and documents seen by Reuters show that since then, at least 123 members of the country's military have been detained on a variety of charges, including treason and theft.

The documents list the detainees by their rank, and there are lower-ranking members of the army, navy, air force, and national guard on there, as well as sergeants, captains, and lieutenants. They are being held in three different jails, and the records show that since April, close to 30 people have been charged with abandoning their post or desertion, and nearly 40 for rebellion, treason, or insubordination; almost all of the rest were charged with theft, Reuters reports.

There are about 150,000 members of the Venezuelan military, and most of their salaries start out as the equivalent of $12.50 a month, Reuters says. Venezuela is experiencing an economic crisis, with shortages of food and medicine, and some military members have defected to the opposition or left the country; three lieutenants went to Colombia in May and requested asylum. "This shows low morale and discontent, and, of course, economic necessity," a former army general told Reuters.