Monday, September 29, 2014

Rodríguez Torres is convinced that the opposition knew about Lorent Saleh

Interior Minister Rodríguez Torres declared yesterday that he is “sure that all the Venezuelan right had knowledge of the terrorist plans by Lorent Gómez Saleh.”

Rodriguez Torres did not provide any evidence for this claim during a televised interview with José Vicente Rangel, but explained that he was convinced the opposition new of the plans because “It is the highest phase of the struggle of Venezuela’s fascism, it is something that goes beyond the guarimbas. That is where the actions of the right were aiming at.”

According to the Minister the opposition was planning a “surprise” after the violent protest in the beginning of this year: “I believe this was the surprise they were planning, they were going to [unleash] armed terrorist cells.”

“A serious opposition, one that acts politically and that really wanted to become an option for the country, would have immediately rejected the terrorist plans by Gómez Saleh. But we haven’t seen this. I am sure that all of the opposition knows what he [Saleh] was up to,” reiterated Rodríguez Torres.

Opposition leaders have rejects having links with Lorent Saleh or knowledge of his plans. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Lorent Saleh Videos

The series of videos of the now jailed student leader Lorent Gómez Saleh is the closest Interior Minister Rodríguez Torres has come to showing evidence of somebody actually conspiring against the Venezuelan government.

In the videos Saleh makes claims of contacts with the Colombian Army and of plans to buy weapons, including sniper rifles and explosives, to use them in the “armed struggle” against the Venezuelan government. Part of Saleh’s bizarre plan, according to his own declarations in one of the videos, was the violent occupation of Táchira State’s “banks and liquor stores.”

The government is now in the process of linking Saleh with opposition leaders. Minister Rodríguez Torres and National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello explained this week that they are convinced the videos are evidence of a wider conspiracy by the opposition to destabilize the country.

Cabello declared: “We have stopped a conspiracy plot very well planned by the right. (…) The opposition knows nothing of love and care. The revolutionaries will always defend the legacy and the love of Chávez. The opposition continues to conspire through different forms of irrational struggle against the constitutional government. (…) Today we are again revealing to the country the intentions of a terrorist and irresponsible right. The opposition has made a fool of us all with its conspiracies and now they tried to destabilize [the country] using Saleh.”

Rodríguez Torres said he will soon show another video revealing “all the dark side, all the connections of Álvaro Uribe with drug trafficking, with the paramilitaries, with crime.”

Opposition leaders have rejected links with Lorent Saleh. Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma admitted he had met Saleh before, but denied this meant he knew about his plans. “If these things are true they are indefensible. Who could defend something so removed from common sense? We are far from [supporting] terrorist and coup plans,” Ledezma declared

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cuban experts in detecting bacteriological warfare have arrived

President Maduro has informed that experts form different parts of the world, including Cuban experts in bacteriological warfare, have arrived in the Venezuela to investigate recent events at Maracay’s Central Hospital.

“There is an international war, compañeros, compatriots, a war waged by people who are trying to bring Venezuela down to its knees. But they will not achieve [their purposes], (…) we have defeated this psychosocial war that they have waged. [They] have made up a sickness in Venezuela, and we are investigating this. Doctors, friends from all over the world have arrived, including from our sister country Cuba, which has sent experts in bacteriological warfare in order to determine what is it the fascist right tried to do in Maracay,” explained Maduro.

The President also claimed victory in several wars he claims are being waged against the country by its enemies: “Bacteriological war, psychological war, international financial war: No and No again! Venezuela is a solid country in all aspects of its social, economic, political, and financial life.”

(Image El Universal)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bacteriological Warfare!

On September 11, the president of the Colegio de Médicos of Aragua, Ángel Sarmiento, informed that 8 patients at the Central Hospital of Maracay had died of an unknown disease. Sarmiento spoke of an "unidentified virus or bacteria."

The PSUV governor of Aragua, Tarek El Aissami, was quick to deny the existence of a “supposed bacteria at the Central Hospital of Maracay.” Instead he accused Sarmiento of being the leader of “a campaign of rumors and terrorism.”

President Maduro declared today that the whole episode was part of an international media campaign of “psychological warfare,” against the Venezuelan people. CNN en español, BBC, NTN24, and the Miami Herald were all mentioned by Maduro as part of this campaign to psychologically “poison Venezuelans.”

But according to Maduro, there may be an even more sinister plot behind the media campaign: “We have a line of research now, because we seriously suspect that the Right was trying to introduce some kind of virus, a bacteriological warfare, into the Maracay Hospital, or who knows where else, and for that they already had prepared the [media] campaign, the videos, who was going to declare, but that campaign fell through in empty space,” said the President.

To develop this “line of research” into the plot, Maduro announced that he will ask for the assistance of international medical organizations, including the World Health Organization, “because this was an attack against the Venezuelan health system,” he added.

Rodríguez Torres: Putting together the conspiracy puzzle

Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres presented a second video of Lorent Gómez Saleh, an opposition student activist who was recently deported from Colombia and handed to Venezuelan authorities. In the videos, Gómez Saleh brags about having contacts with the Colombian Army and of having secured arms (fusiles) to start an insurrection in Venezuela. He also expresses the need to “take over”, and even blow up, liquor stores, banks and the local elections authorities’ offices of the frontier State of Táchira.

For Rodríguez Torres the videos show more than the confessions of an extremist activist, they are irrefutable evidence that the opposition is planning “terrorist actions against the Venezuelan people.”

The Minister said that investigations by Venezuela’s security agencies have determined that Gómez Saleh has links with “activists of the extreme right, such as María Machado and Leopoldo López.” Other links include Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe, and even the Colombian Catholic Church: “We have determined that this young man has links with the Church in Colombia, with two deputies well known in the country, who precisely made the link with Uribe. We have no doubt that Lorent is a pupil of Álvaro Uribe Vélez.”

“We are putting together the puzzle of the conspiracy and insurrectional actions that we already wittnessed with the guarimbas, and that they are now trying to revive,” said Rodríguez Torres.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

National Assembly sides with Maduro in Economic War

The National Assembly, with the majority votes of the pro-government parties, has agreed to support the measures taken by Maduro against the “Economic War” he claims is being waged against the country by the Empire and the local “extreme right”.

Ricardo Sanguino, PSUV representative for Táchira, explained that “the Revolution has been the target of these actions since 1999, but lately it has also faced a Fourth Generation War, (…) an Economic War, which is yet another action of the enemies of our Revolution. (…) These are actions that have not stopped since we came to power, they are actions supported from the United States. (…).”

“I would like to know who is against these measures, who agree with the smuggling that is benefiting the mafias, against the Venezuelan people. Whoever opposes these measures is an anti-patriot,” added Sanguino.

PSUV representative Blanca Eekhout declared: “We support the constitutional president on this and on all the actions he will have to take for the defense of the fatherland. (…) Unlike other countries, Venezuela is not ruled by bankers, the World Bank, or FEDECAMARAS [business union], Venezuela is ruled by a worker that comes from the people, a people that have become government and have come to power, and this is why we will side with the president on the issue of the radical transformation of the State.”

Eekhout also explained the basic elements of the Economic War: “These actions of war and violence have as their main objective to break the people, to break the political stability, and one of its main elements is to starve the people. This is why I call the Popular Power to the struggle, together with the Head of State, against the bourgeoisie that still persists in this country in supporting the Economic War.”

“This Economic War is accompanied by a Media War, which also has the support of actors who are capable of generating a media matrix which impacts reality. They talk about scarcity, and then the process of hoarding products begins. They talk about inflation, and then a coordinated and organized process of speculation begins all over the country,” added Eekhout. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The US is developing a “species of chaos” to generate distress

In his TV show today José Vicente Rangel asked the new Foreign Minister and ex-Oil Minister, Rafael Ramirez, about the “permanent thread to the revolution posed by powerful internal and external enemies.”

Ramirez assured that his main duty in his new post is to do whatever is necessary to “defended the sovereignty [of the country] at any cost because we cannot allow the United States to continue to openly intervene in the internal matters of the country”

“There are sector of the extreme right in our country, linked by tutelage to North America, linked to great economic interests, which continue to bet on violence. Our government and our people have defeated all their attempts. President Nicolás Maduro has not had so far a single day of truce. We have been under a permanent state of siege, with violence on the streets, through the so called guarimbas, with the violence generated by the Economic War, and they are permanently trying to generate a situation of chaos and distress in our country. (...) We will activate the support of the international community (…) to spread the truth to the world and denounce the development, from the United States, of a species of chaos [in Venezuela],” added the Minister.

Conspiracy against the start of the school term

The PSUV governor of Táchira, José Vielma Mora, claims that “sectors of the right are attending conspiratorial meetings with the aim of organizing guarimbas [street barricades] for Monday 15,” when schools and universities are due to begin classes.

“We are completely prepared for these guarimbas. To the organizers we warn that classes are about to start and they better not mess with the people of Táchira and respect the children,” said Vielma Mora.

He also declared that these “sectors of the right” are financed by “smugglers that are being strongly hit by the latest actions of the national and regional governments in its struggle against extraction smuggling in the frontier.”

The latest of these measures by the government against smuggling was revealed yesterday by Defense Minister Carmen Meléndez: the establishment of the toll free number 800-patriota for people to “denounce smuggling” to the authorities.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Maduro optimistic about inflation induced by Economic War

In a meeting yesterday with business people, “of both public and private sectors,” Nicolás Maduro had this to say about the latest inflation figures reported by the Central Bank:

“We have been affected by an inflation induced by the various mechanisms of an economic war, but we can notice that inflation is now showing a tendency to decelerate and to go down: In June it was 4.4%, which is still high, in July 4.1%, and in August it closed in 3.9%, and with work, production, investment, and the combat of the mechanisms of smuggling, we can maintain this tendency and begin the year 2015 with a positive tendency regarding inflation.”

“Strange crimes” are attacks on the State

Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, believes that a recent wave of gruesome crimes in Venezuela is “strange and unusual,” and is fuelled by “by external attacks on the country.”

“Lately we have observed with grave concern, the presence of a series of anti-values in our society that are reflected on the strange and unusual violence of recent crimes. Undoubtedly, I would put in the first place [among the causes of these crimes] the attacks that have been waged against the Venezuelan State, not only internationally but also at the national level. Venezuela has been the victim of aggression especially at the international level. The attack [consists] on claims that in Venezuela Human Rights are being violated, that there is no access to education, culture, sports, housing, and food. This is an attack aimed, not only at disqualifying the institutions, but also the inhabitants [of Venezuela],” said Ortega Díaz in a forum entitled “Prevention and Citizens Security.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Venezuelan Central Bank blames Economic War

The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) has released its log delayed report on inflation for the last three months. Inflation in June reached 4.4%, 4.1% in July, and 3.9% in August. Inflation since January has reached 39%, and 63.4% since this month last year.

Analyst Luis Vicente Leon says the BCV is reporting reliable data, but presenting it in a biased form: “The data from the BCV is adequate. The problem is the manipulation of the dates of publication and the bias of the analysis.”(@luisvicenteleon)

This is what the BCV has to say in its report:

“In short, the monthly variation of the Consumer Price National Index slowed down in August for the third consecutive month, thus reaching the lowest level observed since March, when the results of the indicator began to be affected by the political conflict induced by the economic war, which obstructed the normal behavior of productive activities, and the distribution of essential goods demanded by the Venezuelan population.”

In its previous report issued in April, the BCV had already blamed inflation on the Economic War. In that report the BCV subscribed the government’s explanation of events and claimed that “…a radical group from the opposition, guided by its urge to gain power by any means, without consideration for constitutional order or the will of the people, did not doubt putting into action various initiatives to generate political destabilization, promote political tensions, produce a climate of chaotic political and of economic unease that would stimulate social insurrection, and even provoke the intervention of their foreign allies.”

Update September 11: In this article for Prodavinci, Luis Vicente León says that “errors, omissions, and recalculations reasonably weaken the credibility of the [BCV] data for the markets.” 

Monday, September 8, 2014

New and improved guarimbas

In his weekly TV show José Vicente Rangel said that two unidentified “businessmen in Panama” are financing the Venezuelan opposition. 

“Two businessmen, with a lot of economic resources, continue operating from Panama against the Venezuelan government, [they do this] through opposition leaders who visit them constantly and receive important economic resources,” Rangel said.

He also warned that part of the opposition plans to go back to the streets to protest against recent government’s announcements with “new and improved [mejoradas] guarimbas [street barricades].”

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The educational value of conspiracies

Fort the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, conspiracies and “attacks by the Right” play an unintended formative role for the People in the construction of socialism, as they are “an opportunity to become superiors in the face of difficulties.”

“It is a test to the character of the People. We have proved ourselves time and again. Only through productive, well organized, efficient, and unselfish labor, (…) will we continue to pave the way for our Fatherland to become a power, an independent, socialist, prosperous, and happy Venezuela,” declared Cabello.

He also accused “the Right” of “minimizing” the importance of the recent announcements made by President Nicolás Maduro: “They were expecting neo-liberal measures. They were totally wrong.”

(Image AVN) 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Sacudón against the Evil Plan

This is a translation of a note published yesterday by the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias (AVN) about the announcements made by President Maduro on Tuesday night. The article is illustrative of the open bias common in Venezuela’s public official media. It also gives a taste of the conspiracy theory narrative that has by now become the official rhetoric of the government.

(Note that magnicidio is not mentioned among the list of “systematic attacks” against the Revolution, despite being such an important theory a month ago. I’m still betting on magnicidio making a comeback sometime soon.)

The Robust Revolution is Unbreakable in the Face of the Unremitting Onslaught by the Right

Caracas, 3 September

The attacks of the right against the Bolivarian Revolution, and against all that derives from it (accomplishments, advances, social programs, initiatives in favor of the people), have not rested in the last 15 years. The important coups which have intensified since April 2013 to today are evidence of this.
The objective of this minority sector of the population [the Right], that without moderation has fiercely attacked the people and its rights which are today protected by the State is, without a doubt, to recover its privileges affected by the fact that now the wealth of the country is distributed with equality and justice.
Material, economic, and human losses have resulted from an “Evil Plan” of the Venezuelan Right, as was explained on Tuesday night from Miraflores Palace, Caracas, by the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.
The Head of State –who addressed the country on a radio and television cadena to announce the beginning of a new phase of the Bolivarian Revolution in the service of the People –reminded the audience that the Right has opened many fronts of attack in order to systematically and continuously harass the People. In the last 17 month alone, these minority sectors have activated five fronts, right after the physical departure of the comandante Hugo Chávez, that add up to the many other fronts activated since the time the Venezuelan People took over power in December 1999 with Chávez.
One of these five fronts of aggression against the People became active after the elections of April 2013, won by Maduro. Extremist acts left 11 Venezuelans dead and many injured. This was a consequence of the loosing candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski, in a clearly irresponsible act, calling his followers to set the streets on fire and to not acknowledge the electoral results.
From that moment on, the attacks have become systematic: War against the energy system [Guerra Eléctrica], daily psychological war, economic war, smuggling, all of which are supported by national and international media corporations. The best example of this was the guarimabas [street barricade protests] which were part of the agenda of violence of the Right this last year.
In the face of these attacks, the answer of the People and the government has been more work, loyalty, and love. “The tests have been overcome,” said President Maduro, who emphasized that, in the face of each of these attacks, the profoundly human character of a conscious People prevailed.
The national leader stressed that, despite these attacks that slow down the socialist policies of the Bolivarian Government for dignifying the People, the government has managed to advance forward with gigantic steps in favor of the wellbeing of the Venezuelan population.
However Maduro explained that the joint work of the People and the Government will continue with strength, and now even with more vigor, faicing the economic war and the boicot that has become more intense in these last years, and against which the State has taken the definite decision to counter-attack.
For this reason the President made an appeal to redouble the efforts: “We need to attack them all. We need to overcome this test that life has put to us in the struggle against smuggling, speculation, criminal economy, and we must come out of it stronger, with a productive economy, with an articulated economy integrated in all its different dimensions.”

(Image AVN)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Who believes in conspiracy theories according to IVAD?

A new poll by IVAD (Instituto Venezolano de Análisis de Datos), published by Eugenio G. Martínez (@puzkas), asked relevant questions about some of the conspiracy theories held by the Venezuelan government.

The government claims that the deaths during the opposition street protests at the beginning of the year are the responsibility of the opposition leaders who called the protests. IVAD asked:

Frase con la que está más de acuerdo:

“Las muertes ocurridas durante las protestas de los últimos meses son responsabilidad de los líderes como Leopoldo López y María Corina Machado que la convocaron”: 29.4%

“Las muertes ocurridas durante las protestas de los últimos meses son responsabilidad de los grupos irregulares armados y las fuerzas policiales y militares que reprimieron a los manifestantes”: 57.0%

No response: 13.6%

Only 29.4% of respondents answered that opposition leaders, “such as Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado” were responsible for the deaths. But more than half (57%) believe that “irregular groups”, the police, and the military, are responsible for the deaths.

On the claims made by the government that the opposition is planning to assassinate President Maduro (Magnicidio), IVAD asked to respond true or false to these statements:

La Oposición está planificando un magnicidio para asesinar al Presidente Maduro:
True 19.9%. False 62.0%. No response 18.1%

Las denuncias de magnicidio hechas por el Gobierno son una mentira para tapar los problemas del país:

True 64.4%. False 24.5%. No responde 11.1%

The opposition will hit the Venezuelan people with starvation

The President of the National Assembly and Vice-president of the Socialist Party (PSUV), Diosdado Cabello, declared today that the opposition’s critiques of the announced plan to control consumption through the use of fingerprint machines in markets (captahuellas), is evidence that “they will try to hit the people with starvation.”

According to Cabello the opposition has systematically “underestimated” the claims by the government that there is an Economic War against the country.

For Cabello the reason the opposition critiques the government’s measures, it’s because these measures benefit the people: “If the controls to prevent smuggling hurt the bourgeoisie, it’s because they benefit the people. We need to go out to the streets and raise the awareness of the people, this is not just any war; it’s a war to put an end to the Bolivarian Revolution.”

He also made reference to the opposition street protests at the beginning of the year. This is how the press note published by the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias informs of the declarations by Cabello. Note how the protests are framed (by AVN, before the quote by Cabello) as terrorist acts by the extreme right to promote a foreign intervention. Also interesting is the fact that, according to AVN, Cabello considers “to promote the resignation of a Head of State,” a terrorist crime. Here is the extract form AVN:

During the interview, Cabello made reference to the attacks by terrorist groups linked to the extreme right, during the first months of 2014, with the purpose of affecting the constitutional order and of promoting a foreign intervention in the internal matters of Venezuela.

“What do we do with those who tried to burn preschools with children inside? Do we find logical, as a country, as fathers of Venezuelan children, that someone could be capable of burning a university, or a school with children inside, just because he want to overthrow the president?” considered Cabello, who also noted that the percentage of students that participated in the protests was very low.

Cabello pointed out that no amnesty law is being considered for the citizens that participated in these terrorist acts, because to promote the resignation of a head of state is a crime.

“We cannot close our eyes to this,” reaffirmed the president of the National Assembly.

(Image El Universal)