Sunday, September 1, 2013

Conspiracy theories in Venezuela according to EFE

The Spanish international news agency EFE published a note yesterday (August 31) about conspiracy theories in Venezuela, focusing on the constant claims by President Nicolás Maduro of magnicidio plots to assassinate him.

EFE quotes the opinions of Alberto Barrera, a writer and author of a biography of Chávez, and Nicmer Evans, a pro-government intellectual and part time lecturer at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

For Barrera the constant claims of plots reflect a “pre political society” in constant threat of “a hecatomb that never happens.” Barrera thinks that conspiracy theories are used by Maduro to generate cohesion among chavistas: “the aim is to generate huge threats so that supporters close ranks in the defense of Maduro.”

But Nicmer Evans believes that conspiracy theories should not be discarded as mere paranoia: “I would not accuse the position of Venezuela’s political leaders as paranoid because history has shown very clearly that there are profound reasons to make them think this way.” Evans believes that the magnicidio plot claims are true and that they go beyond killing the President: “the fundamental objective of all this is Venezuela’s oil.”

However Evans does believe that perhaps the government has somewhat exaggerated conspiracy announcements: “With the issue of the magnicidio we are like in the wolf fable, ‘here comes the wolf!’ and when the wolf finally comes nobody will notice because they warned too many times that it was going to come.”

Both Barrera and Evans make interesting points on the issue of the effectiveness of the political use of conspiracy theories. Barrera, who clearly does not believe in these theories, thinks that they are used by the government as tools for the creation of internal cohesion. Evans (a pro-government believer), seems to think that even if the theories are true, the government has to reveal them in a smaller dosage if it wants to be taken seriously.

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