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00:00:00
>>
FOREIGN]
> But these largely young and under-paid troops, who are loyally serving their country are becoming disillusioned, as they are also getting crushed by a devastating economic crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans surviving on just a dollar or two a month.
00:00:32
Reuters reporter, Girish Gupta, has been talking to those in uniform.>> We've been speaking to soldiers from all ranks across the country, and they're incredibly demoralized. One soldier, a sergeant major, is not some grunt, but someone who's been serving for more than 20 years, told me he opens his fridge and there's nothing in it.
00:00:49
He told me that he used to when he joined the military, he used to buy furniture and clothes for his family. Now that Christmas bonus that he gets gets him a couple of cartons of eggs. It's just nothing for him.>> 172 members of the armed forces were detained in the first four months of this year for treason, desertion, and rebellion, according to internal military documents obtained by Reuters.
00:01:14
A significant uptick from 2017. Now as Venezuela gears up for what is being called a sham election, many see the military as their only hope.>> Now some government critics here in Venezuela have suggested that a milltary coup is the only way out. That might not be that likely to happen, but even US president Donald Trump suggested a military intervention last year.
00:01:35
His then Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said in February that there was possibility that a military coup might take place in Venezuela. A former senior CIA official told me that that was the US essentially pre-accepting a military coup here.>> Back in 2017, during fierce anti-government protests, Venezuela's national guard put their lives at risk for Maduro's government, fighting off protesters throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails towards them.
00:02:03
In interviews with Reuters, some soldiers acknowledged being exhausted, impoverished, hungry, and even sympathetic towards protesters who face the same problems as they do.