How many conspiracies has the Venezuelan government claimed to have revealed in the past 15 years? If every single claim made by each public official and public media outlet is counted, then dozens of conspiracies have been discovered every year.
However, one legitimate move in the language game of the conspiracy rhetoric played by the government is to claim that all conspiracies are part of a single Grand Imperial Conspiracy plot, which reveals itself in successive and often overlapping sub-plots.
Coup d’état attempts, magnicidios (attempts to kill the president or other government officials), economic, psychological, media, and cultural wars, are all part of a gigantic international plot with extended connections over long distances, and control over vast resources.
This unified conspiracy can be summarized as a grand plot by “The Empire”, usually meaning the United States government, controlled by the “industrial-military complex”. The rules of the language game allow for a wide variety of sub-conspiracies and conspirators to be moved and linked in complex plots, which may represent successive phases of the development of the main plot.
Local opposition leaders and critical persons and groups lose their independence and are turned into mere lackeys of foreigner and powerful puppet masters. In this language game only two legitimate moves are allowed for persons: either they unconditionally and loyally support the Leader in his struggle against the all-powerful imperial conspirator, or they become traitors in cahoots with a foreign power. No middle ground remains for a possible move and politics ceases to be the field of negotiation and agreement to become the polarized stage of a constant conflict for survival.
Far from an emancipatory language game, anti-imperialism becomes the tool for de-politicization and repression. Persons no longer have control over the discussion of their day-to-day problems and their possible solutions, and instead are asked to “temporarily” suspend their criticism of the authorities and the Revolution. The people or the government is not responsible for those problems and solutions; the Empire is the real and external source of all evils.
In the conflict played out by this rhetoric, extreme internal measures become necessary to protect the people from the external threat. Fifth columns have to be neutralized, internal discussion silenced, and politics suspended. All is to be left in the hands of the protecting Leader.
The language game of anti-imperialist hysteria is not played with the grammar of politics: it’s played under the rules of war. This is not the time for the squeamish, says the rule stablished by the Revolution, but the time for definitions.
(Read a good example of the “unified” conspiracy theory of imperialism in El conflict Estados Unidos-Venezuela y la VII Combre de las Americas by Carlos Fazio, published by the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias.)