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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Bandera Roja
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Bandera Roja #CR0001251 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). Red Flag GBR Frente Americo Silva Americo Silva Front FAS Source: CIA, MI-6, Interpol Type: Political terrorist organization Scope: Acts of popular terror limited to South and Central America. Although dormant for the last few years, rumors persist that they are regrouping and preparing to break their long silence. [CIA] Affiliations: To support itself the Red Flag apparently has some contact with two Colombian revolutionary groups, the National Liberation Army [#CR0003112] and 19th of April Movement [#CR0002738]. [Interpol] Personnel: Less than 50 in the armed wing. Operating Since: 1969. Structure: Scattered cells of five to ten member each. The leadership advises the cells and provides them with support, intelligence and equipment. Leaders: Current leadership is in question since Gabriel Puerta Aponte [#LL3948217] was imprisoned in 1982, former leader Carlos Betancourt [#LL3726330] was imprisoned in 1977, and Julio Escalona [#LL4289057] accepted a Presidential pardon in May 1979. Legitimate Connections: The Bandera Roja are believed to be skimming funds from a number of international relief organizations. Resources: Smallarms and lower quality military equipment. Possible intelligence from sympathizers within local governments. Moderate to low funding. Suspected Criminal Activity: Sporadic Red Flag operations, such as ambushes of military vehicles and temporary takeovers of small towns, occurred in 1976 and 1977. Betancourt was recaptured in 1977, and Red Flag activity all but stopped by 1979. In April of 1979, Red Flag raided the Maracay branch of the National Directory for Identification and Foreign Documentation, Aragua State; stole 27,000 validated civilian identification documents, 40,000 blank civilian identification documents, 300 blank passports, official seals, 6 typewriters, and a document processing machine. In September of 1980, Red Flag is suspected of robbing a securities firm in Valencia (200 kilometers west of Caracas) of nearly $2 million and 50 light weapons. The Red Flag resurfaced in December 1981 with the hijacking of three domestic flights, demanding a ransom and the release of prisoners. The group did not intimidate the Venezuelan Government, which captured Puerta in April 1982 and killed 25 militants in an ensuing firefight. The group apparently has been unable to secure any outside Sponsorship and probably relies on ransoms from kidnapping and hijacking, as well as raids on small towns. Additional Commentary: The Red Flag splintered from the Venezuelan Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) in 1969, when the Soviet Union decided to pursue diplomatic relations with Venezuela and force Cuba to abandon support for insurgents in Venezuela. The group was led through the early 1970s by Carlos Betancourt and Gabriel Puerta Aponte. In 1972, in a joint operation with the MIR, the Red Flag kidnapped Carlos Dominguez Chavez, a Caracas industrialist, and received $1 million in ransom. Betancourt and Puerta were captured in 1973, but escaped from Caracas' top-security prison in 1975. In that same year, the Red Flag rejected the constitutional left. It also issued a death list condemning 20 men prominent in agriculture and began abduction of wealthy businessmen for ransom. Began originally as a Marxist-Leninist program of rural revolution, but rejected the Venezuelan constitutional left, including the Venezuelan Communist Party and the Movement of the Revolutionary Left. The political agenda later called for establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat in Venezuela by means of an armed struggle. Also aimed to shun the leftist elements that have accepted legal status and are seeking elections as a means of obtaining power. With the decline in the oil market and the subsequent effect on the Venezuelan economy, there is a possibility that the Red Flag could find renewed support among the economically distressed. The terrorists face many obstacles, though, such as their lack of external support, the loyalty and effectiveness of the Venezuelan security forces, and offers of political amnesty for guerrillas. With its guerrilla front dormant, most of the GBR's present activity appears to be limited to political activism on university campuses and attempts to gain influence with labor unions.