Of many the government officials quoted in this blog, the President of the Instituto para la Defensa de las Personas en el Acceso de a los Bienes y Servicios (Indepabis), Eduardo Samán, is probably the most radical and straight forward in making explicit what exactly conspiracy theories are for when used by political leaders.
Conspiracy theories are forms of secular theodicies that explain in a simple way social problems. They are useful for pointing out where evil is supposed to reside and for allocating blame. They simplify reality with a political rhetoric of us against them, and ultimately prepare the way for the repression and destruction of the “objective enemy.”
Eduardo Samán believes that the current economic crisis in Venezuela is not the result of complex economic circumstances, many of which are the responsibility of the past and current government, but of a conspiracy by “the right”: “the National Government has assumed the struggle against the economic war and the sabotage attempts orchestrated by the Venezuelan right, who are trying to blame the State policies for the problems of shortages and food distribution the country is facing.”
As seen in this blog, this has become the official government explanation for the economic crisis, endorsed by President Maduro. But exactly how this narrative is politically useful is clearly explained by Samán: “the true enemy must be identified, he is not the small street vendor [buhonero], the enemy is the north American imperialism, the opposition, the representatives of Fedecámaras [business owners cartel], the industry owners, who have always turned the needs of the people into merchandize. (…) The opposition is trying to destabilize the people with an operation to create discontent; it is a massive, silent, psychological war with subtle and well planned actions.”
Samán also explains how the people can help defeat this terrible and all-powerful enemy: “there are two ways in which people can denounce hoarding and speculation of food products, calling the phone numbers 0800 RECLAMA and 0800 SABOTAJE.”