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.