Saturday, July 13, 2019

Guaidó is Funded by Chavismo




(Image downloaded from @jcajias and retweeted by @garciabanchs)

Part of the opposition is convinced that its own leadership is being sponsored by the Maduro regime and is betraying a clear and clean break with chavismo. The theory is linked to a warranted skepticism in Venezuela’s electoral system and with the belief that only a foreign military intervention will trigger a transition from authoritarian rule. Any sign by the opposition leadership of willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition, basically through elections, is considered by this faction of the opposition as a sellout to the regime. Indeed, to simply engage in dialogue with the government is tantamount to collaboration with a criminal narco-regime.

A good example of this conspiracy theorizing is Ángel García Banchs (@garciabanchs), a popular Twitter influencer with 336.1 K followers. García Banchs is convinced that Juan Guaidó, interim president named by the National Assembly, has been unwilling to unequivocally call for a foreign military intervention against the Venezuelan government because he is funded by bolichicos and boliburgueses (corrupt pro-government businessmen and government officials.)

Here is my translation of some recent posts by García Banchs:

“Foreign military intervention will happen even despite @jguaido and all the collaborators with the narco-regime, funded by the bolichicos and boliburgueses who looted PDVSA, CORPOELEC and the Venezuelan nation.”

García Banchs, however, is concerned that some people in the United States may be lobbying against a military intervention in Venezuela. They are doing this because they are financed by the Maduro government:

“How is it that these people are falling from the sky [paracaidistas] and giving talks in Washington? Money from the narco-regime or the bolichicos.”

“If there is funding by the bolichicos and the boliburgueses, the National Assembly and @jguaido are part of the regime. They will never become separated [from the regime].”

“Bolichicos and boligurgueses pay for the very expensive trips and lobbies of those talking about a PSUV-MUD transition. Unfortunately serious Venezuelan industrialists are not funding radicals in Washington [lobbies] to talk about the foreign military rupture/intervention”

“VENEZUELA is in the hands of a lobby struggle. Lobbies payed by bolichicos and boliburgueses to convinced Washington to wait for free presidential elections or for a coup by Padrino [Lopez], which will never happen. In the end, everything leads to a foreign military intervention.”

García Banchs seems aware that a military intervention would be far from a clean affaire and would entail sacrifice and suffering. Today he wrote:

“I won’t lie: the foreign military intervention, of course, will be a war. Those who speak of a surgical intervention are most likely referring to XIX Century surgery, not to XXI Century laparoscopy surgery. It’s either war with freedom or peace with submission under Maduro”

In fact, in the following audio, García Banchs argues that an “inevitable” foreign military intervention will lead to a purifying civil war which will purge Venezuela of chavistas and narcos, but also of populism and socialism. The war will end with a victory of “those in favor freedom, by which I mean liberals,” and will ensue in “the first economic miracle of the Twenty First Century.”

      

Monday, July 1, 2019

¿Para qué sirve creer en teorías de la conspiración? Algunos comentarios a propósito del artículo de John Carey

Carey, John Michael. 2019. Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories in Venezuela? Latin American Research Review 54(2), pp. 444–457. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25222/larr.88

John Carey de Dartmouth College ha publicado recientemente un excelente artículo en el que se basa en datos de encuestas para discutir algunos de los puntos que he planteado en este blog en los últimos años. Específicamente, Carey estudia tres discursos teórico-conspirativos venezolanos. Dos “pro-chavista”: la Guerra Económica y el “asesinato” de Chávez (que en Venezuela se suele llamar “magnicidio”); y una “pro-oposición”, la “Conspiración (plot) del PSUV” (la teoría según la cual parte del liderazgo del partido de gobierno está conspirando para sacar a Maduro del poder y a sí conservar algunos espacios de poder).

El análisis de datos de encuestas lleva a Carey a concluir que en Venezuela “del 54% de los encuestados que se muestran de acuerdo con cualquiera de las tres afirmaciones conspirativas, 39% expresan apoyo a las narrativas pro-chavistas, pero no a la narrativa pro-oposición y viceversa. El análisis multivariado confirma que la identificación política es el predictor único más fuerte del apoyo a cualquier teoría de la conspiración dada. Los venezolanos tienden a apoyar [teorías de la] conspiración que vilipendian a sus adversarios políticos” (p. 10).

Carey menciona además una serie de correlaciones interesantes, entre otras: Hay una relación significativa entre la visión de mundo maniqueísta y la creencia en teorías de la conspiración (en este blog y en otros trabajos he vinculado las creencias teórico-conspirativas con las ideas sobre el bien y el mal). La edad de los encuestados también presenta una correlación interesante (los mayores tienden a creer más: Carey sugiere que a mayor edad, más memoria de la escabrosa historia de intervenciones norteamericanas en América Latina) y, muy importante, el nivel educativo de los encuestados (a mayor educación, menos creencia).

Agradezco las referencias que hace Carey a mi trabajo y aprovecho para hacer unos breves comentarios: 

Lo que siempre me ha interesado resaltar en este blog es narrar cómo el discurso teórico conspirativo se convierte en retórica oficial del estado y que consecuencias políticas tiene este fenómeno (malas, por lo general, como ya señalara Hannah Arendt). Por lo tanto, aunque a veces he hecho algunas referencias a ellas, en este blog he hecho pocas menciones a las teorías de la conspiración de la oposición Venezolana. Esto ha sido acertadamente criticado por muchos como un sesgo de este blog.

Sin embargo, hay en efecto una retórica teórico-conspirativa de la oposición que ha tenido y está teniendo importantes consecuencias políticas en Venezuela, que he trabajado poco hasta ahora, pero espero hacerlo pronto. Ese discurso de una parte de la oposición se refiere al tema clave del voto. La retórica abstencionista opositora está basada en una teoría de la conspiración que afirma que no importa la participación, el gobierno ha robado y robará elecciones. La consecuencia de este discurso ha sido una notable desmovilización de la oposición.

Téngase en cuenta que en este blog he insistido en que las teorías de la conspiración pueden ser verdad o no, eso no es lo que las hace teorías de la conspiración: lo que las hace tales es la creencia en que un grupo particular conspira para lograr sus metas (y esto es verdad que sucede todo el tiempo en todo el mundo). Puede ser muy importante desmontar ciertas teorías de la conspiración y demostrar que sus afirmaciones no se ajustan a la verdad, pero eso es trabajo para los filósofos. Mi interés por estas formas de discursos sigue una perspectiva sociológica pragmatista: ¿qué diferencia hace que una teoría de la conspiración sea verdad o no? ¿Qué consecuencias tiene creer en ella? ¿Sirve para algo creer en ellas? La sospecha de que el voto no es respetado en Venezuela puede tener un fundamento verdadero (lo tiene, todo el sistema es sesgado y es necesaria una reforma profunda para recuperar la confianza en el voto), pero lo importante es la consecuencia del discurso: la desmovilización de la oposición al punto en que quizás se pueda demostrar que el chavismo ha ganado elecciones en el pasado sin necesidad de conspirar para hacer fraude electoral.

En otros trabajos he hecho referencia a que una de las consecuencias más relevantes del uso político de las teorías de la conspiración es la desmovilización política de las personas. Las teorías de la conspiración ponen el lugar del poder en una agencia que está más allá del control de las personas: mientras más poderosas y todo explicativas las teorías de la conspiración, más poderoso el agente conspirativo y menos poderosa la víctima. Es más, un aspecto clave de las narrativas teórico-conspirativas relacionadas con el populismo es que el líder es insistentemente presentado como el único capaz de enfrentar el enorme poder del enemigo y por lo tanto “el pueblo” debe otorgarle poder supremo, confiar en él y ser leal a él al extremo.

Las teorías de la conspiración aupadas desde el gobierno en Venezuela han sido muy consistentes en este aspecto, basadas en la idea de la existencia de un poderoso enemigo externo del cual solo la revolución y su líder puede defender al pueblo (Véase la notable utilización de esta retórica en los planes de alimentación gubernamentales, los cuales tienen como propósito “defender al pueblo de la guerra económica”). Parte de la oposición venezolana también sufre las consecuencias políticas de creer en teorías de la conspiración: No se puede negociar con criminales, siempre robarán las elecciones, dictadura no sale no votos, los líderes opositores que negocian son en realidad agentes del gobierno. Ante el así definido enorme poder criminal del gobierno, solo es posible, dice este discurso, la apelación a un poder superior que nos rescate: una fuerza internacional que invada a Venezuela y saque al chavismo del poder. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Coup and Massacre (Updated June 30: torture and death)

Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez announced yesterday that the government has “more than 59 hours” of videos and taped conversations between plotters of a coup attempt that would have included the assassination of more than 60 government leaders. President Nicolás Maduro, the government sponsored Constituent Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, and the president of the Supreme Justice Tribunal (TSJ), Maikel Moreno, were mentioned as targets. The coup was planned to take place on June 23 and 24, but was dismantled by the government. Excerpts from the videos were shown by Rodríguez.

Retired General Ramón Antonio Lozada and active General Miguel Sisco Mora, were mentioned by Rodríguez as taking parts in the recorded conversations in which they plotted to, according to the Minister, “assassinate Nicolás Maduro, to permanently follow him, his wife, his children; to assassinate the president of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, the president of the TSJ, Maikel Moreno.”

Rodriguez was quick to link the military conspirator to the opposition leadership and its foreign backers: “These are no hypothesis, no speculations, this is evidence and testimonies obtained after months of intelligence gathering and they involve Juan Guaidó and Ivan Duque in these violent events.”

In a twist to the plot, Rodríguez also claimed that the conspirators would not have named Guaido as president after the coup, but instead would have freed General Raúl Baduel from his house arrest and named him as president, “an unequivocal sign that they hate each other,” said Rodríguez of the opposition leadership. Other parts of the plot included stealing military tanks from the La Carlota Air Force base in Caracas, stealing “146 assault rifles” form the vaults of the Venezuelan Central Bank (?), and placing snipers in buildings in downtown Caracas to shoot the people who would come out in support of the government during the coup. Diosdado Cabello has insisted that “Israeli agents” were to be involved in these last parts of the plan.

The Communication Minister said the government would be revealing the full evidence of the plot in the next few days, but also asked “the people” to be on the alert and come to the authorities if they knew anything about this plot.

On June 21, SEBIN agents arrested two retired generals and two active air force and navy officers, including General Miguel Sisco Mora. Rodríguez has announced that there will more arrests in the next days.


(Update June 30, 2019)

One of the active officers, navy captain Rafael Acosta Arévalo, detained in relation to the plot, died yesterday under custody of the military counterintelligence police (DGCIM). Relatives who saw him yesterday say he had been severely beaten, could barely talk, and was only able to ask his lawyer for help. Following complains by the lawyer a judge ordered that Acosta Arévalo be taken to a military hospital where he died at 1:00am.

In short statement the Venezuelan government says:

The Bolivarian Government informs the Venezuelan people that, faced with the continuous and sneaky [artera] intention of the enemies of the Constitution and peace, of perpetrating coup d’état attempts, terrorist acts, massacres against the civilian population, arms robbery, and the assassination of the President of the Republic, as well as his near relatives and [other] leaders of the Bolivarian Revolution, State security agencies began months ago the investigation which lead to the dismantling of these criminal plans and the arrest of these self-confessed terrorists. All the investigation was done with absolute respect to due process and to human rights, as is the indispensable condition under our Constitutional State of Justice and Law.

Considering the events which resulted in the death of the citizen Rafael Acosta Arévalo, accused of serious terrorist acts, sedition, and frustrated attempt to assassinate the head of State [magnicidio], [events which took place] during the presentation [of Acosta Arévalo] to the court, the Head of State, President Nicolás Maduro, has asked the Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, for a full and comprehensive investigation to clear [the circumstance of] this regrettable event.

We hope that the prompt actions of the prosecution authorities [Ministerio Público] will provide an answer to the request made by the Constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, so that peace and the development of justice may be preserved.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Synchronized Attacks by Sad and Slavish Local Lackeys

Last night the fourth national power outage in a week was explained by Jorge Rodríguez, Minister of Information and Communication, as the result of two “programed and synchronized” attacks against the National Electrical System.

“The Bolivarian Government addresses the people of Venezuela and the world, to denounce the vile and brutal perpetration of two programed and synchronized attacks against the National Electric System with the aim of obstructing, in a criminal and homicidal way, the enormous efforts the Revolutionary Government is doing to stabilize the electric service”, declared Rodríguez.

These new attacks, claims Rodríguez, come in addition to “electromagnetic pulse attacks and mechanical actions,” an arson attack, and a sniper attack with “high caliber bullets,” which according to the Minister have crippled Venezuela’s electric system since March 7.

Rodríguez assured, however, that the government will “give back to the people” its right to accesses to electricity: “We will repair and recover the equipment savagely damaged by agents of the northern supremacist Empire and its sad and slavish [genuflexos] local lackeys.”  

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New Blackout, New Sabotage (updated with yet another sabotage!)


A new national blackout yesterday at 1:20 pm left most of the country without electricity for several hours.

Midafternoon, Communications and Information Minister, Jorge Rodríguez claimed that the hydroelectric Guri dam had been attacked again, “the [electric] generation of the hydroelectric central Simón Bolívar at Guri was directly attacked,” he said.

However, also said Minister Rodríguez, different from the “attack” of March 7, this time the government was able to quickly recover: “It took us 5 or 6 days to recuperate the electric system from the first attack carried out by the right, today we have recovered within hours. (…) We had the capacity to rapidly respond and [electricity] has been restored completely.”

The power, in fact, was restored progressively in some regions during the afternoon, only to collapse again from 9:45 pm on.


(Update)

This morning, hours after the power went out again last night at 9:45, Minister Jorge Rodríguez claimed that the electric system had suffered a second attack. Yesterday the National Electric System, he said, “suffered two devious terrorist attacks by the hands of the violent [people] who have made the sowing of distress among the population their instrument to attain their destabilizing objectives.”

The first event (the blackout at 1:29 pm,) explained Rodríguez, had similar characteristics to the blackout of March 7, implying that again this time a cyberattack or a magnetic attack has been carried out. This time, however, the government had everything under control and in a few hours, according to Rodríguez, the distribution system was behaving in a “harmonious and robust” manner.

But at 9:47pm a more conventional sabotage was carried out to produce the second blackout: “criminal hands,” explained Rodríguez, “started a huge fire in the transition patio of Guri.”

The minister did not explain how the “criminal hands” were able to start a huge fire inside a secure installation, but he did describe the enemy in detail:

“An event of this nature has never before happened in the history of the Venezuelan Electric System, and it is evidence of the lack of limits of these terrorists, helped by the warmongering leadership that conform the military, financial, and media fabric of the supremacists in power today in the United States of America, and who aspire to rule the world.”

Rodríguez ended his declarations predicting victory: “We will defeat this electric war with the immense strength that, as a people, we have accumulated in our struggle against vulgar empires and their local lackeys.”