Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who believes in paramilitaries?

According to a recent survey by the NGO Paz Activa about organized crime, 19.7% of Venezuelans believe the official version by the government that paramilitaries are to blame for the country’s organized crime. Almost the same percentage of those surveyed (18.9%) blamed guerillas.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It was an inside job!

TeleSUR is the Venezuela government’s answer to what it considers a biased and imperialist centered international media landscape. It regularly republishes conspiracy theories about Venezuelan politics published originally by the Agencia Venezolana de Noticias.

However, being TeleSUR a global news outlet, it also gives space to international conspiracy theories. Here is a long article published in the TeleSur web page summarizing the most famous conspiracy theories around the 9/11 events of 2001. The theory favored by the author of the piece is that the events were an inside job by the Bush administration in order to start wars and get a lot of oil. A very similar piece was published by TeleSUR last year September.

The channel’s conspiracy theorist in residence, Miguel Pérez Pirela, known in Venezuela for claiming in 2012 that the opposition was sending encrypted subversive messages via newspaper crossword puzzles (here and here), has this video clip produced by TeleSur explaining what really happened in 9/11.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our conspiracy theories are true because we have said many times that they are true

The article “Characterizing paramilitarism” by PSUV leader Freddy Bernal, published in, is a good example of a typical rhetorical devise used in conspiracy theories: the conspiracy theory is true because we repeatedly said it is true and because we relatedly warned of the consequences of the conspiracy.

It matters little if the events can also be explained as the consequence of many other causes, for example: government incompetence. Such explanations will be dismissed as being also part of the conspiracy, part of a “smoke screen” or “media campaign” to cover up the conspiracy and blame the government.

According to Bernal, “the facts, and the actions of the security forces, are gradually proving the importation of the paramilitary culture in our country. This is a grim [nefasto] phenomenon about which we have warned time and again, pointing to the relation this plague [paramilitarism] has with a sector of the Venezuelan right-wing. The repeated denunciations made by the bolivarians about the issue have been disqualified by the opposition with the argument that they are but a ‘smoke screen’ to cover security deficiencies.”

The important premises of Bernal’s argument are: that the actions of the government are evidence of the truth of its own conspiracy theories, that the links between paramilitaries and the “right-wing” exit because the government has repeated often that they exist, and that there is no such a thing as “security deficiencies” in Venezuela.

Follows Bernal´s own explanation of recent events: “I believe that in Venezuela the right-wing, having been defeated several times in their traditional conspiratorial formulas (military coups, magnicidio, street insurrections, foreign interventions, etc.), has opted for plans to launch paramilitarism in order to overthrow the Venezuelan government. (…) The capture of the, no longer supposed but confessed, murderers of Liana Hergueta is evidence without any doubt of a diabolical cocktail made of opposition parties + paramilitarism + trafficking of dollars + guarimbas [street protests] + crime. The story told by the murderers confirms the denunciations we, the bolivarians, have been making…”