Sunday, June 23, 2013

The FAO conspiracy and sabotage

The reason this blog mainly focuses on the political use of conspiracy theories by the Venezuelan government, and the opposition is rarely mentioned, is that the “paranoid style” of governmental officials by far surpasses the opposition. This is because the Bolivarian revolution is a project based on a conspiracy outlook of society. Conspiracy theories are an important part of the basic theodicy of a convinced revolutionary.

Needless to say however, in Venezuela the government does not have the monopoly of conspiracy theories.
An interesting case is the recent recognition given by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to Venezuela for hunger reduction. 

Twenty countries have satisfied Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one, to halve the proportion of hungry people. Their progress was measured between 1990-92 and 2010-2012, against benchmarks established by the international community at the UN General Assembly in 2000.
An additional 18 countries were congratulated for reaching both MDG 1 and the more stringent World Food Summit (WFS) goal, having reduced by half the absolute number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012.

Venezuela is among this last list of 18 countries.

The Venezuelan opposition immediately considered the issue strange. How can a country that is facing recurrent shortages of basic products, high inflation, and that is forced to import most what it consumes, be even considered for such recognition? Henrique Capriles was the first to point out the suspicions and denounce that “there are other interests behind this… behind this award there is a person that was part of the government of President Lula, and we all know his inclinations.” 

Opposition party Primero Justica leader Julio Borges explained who this person is: FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva was for a time a minister in Lula’s government. For Borges the recognition is part of a pay back by Brazil, via FAO, for past favors received from the Venezuelan government. This, declared Borges in typical conspiracy theory rhetoric, is a “mathematical reality.”

For his part Nicolás Maduro, receiving the recognition in Rome, could not refrain from advancing his usual “economic war” argument, claiming that there is no such thing as scarcity in Venezuela, but only “an internal and external economic sabotage” that produces shortages. He went so far as to ask FAO for its support in the establishment of a system for monitoring production and consumption of food in Venezuela.

Venezuela received the recognition toghether with 17 countries, as diverse as Peru and Armenia, and the period measured by the FAO starts in 1990, well before the Bolivarian revolution. But Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua claimed that “the only possible way to fight hunger is the construction of a socialist society,” and that “Chávez put an end to hunger in Venezuela“ 

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