Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has a ordered a 3,000-odd strong military force, called the National Command of the People's Guard, onto the country's streets with the stated aim of helping the police curb widespread crime in the country.
As Al Jazeera's Dima Khatib reports from Caracas, this is the first time that Chavez has addressed crime and social issues in this way. Chavez announced last month that he was cancer-free after having had a tumour removed and undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy.
Friday's move came a day after Chavez announced that he wanted to stay in power for another two decades, until 2031.
He has also been promoting new social programmes to help the poor, working families and pensioners that are to take effect before the October 7, 2012, presidential elections.