Observers are wondering just how involved the North Korean Praetorian Guard that Pyongyang has sent to assist Venezuelan leader Micolas Maduro will become. Hugo Chavez’ successor has declared a state of emergency in the country while anti-government protests continue to mount. The man behind the ‘loan’ of North Korean troops is General Kim Yong-chol, who is close to the country’s Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un. The general is both head of the special forces and the United Front Work Department, or Tongil Chonsonbu, the intelligence service in charge of relations with friendly political movements.
North Korean special forces are training with their counterparts of Venezuela’s Grupo de Acciones Commando (GAC) and Chinese troops of the 21st Armed Group of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Caracas this month.
Back in March, Pyongyang also signed a confidential military cooperation and intelligence-sharing agreement with Cuba, even though the latter is in the midst of a reconciliation process with the US.