Monday, August 19, 2013

Venezuela Conspiracy Theories

If you haven't already, I recommend you check out Hugo Pérez Hernáiz's blog Venezuela Conspiracy Theory Monitor. He is a sociology professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and also contributes to the Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights blog.

It's fascinating stuff. In Venezuelan politics a recurring theme is for José Vicente Rangel to announce how there will be an attempt on President Maduro's life, say he has proof, offer no proof, then have other government officials repeat the claim. This seems to go on more or less endlessly.

But there are also various claims that the CIA planted Hugo Chávez (!), that the CIA planted Edward Snowden, and lots of references to fascists.


Justin Delacour 8:11 PM  

Both Hernaiz and Smilde make good points about how conspiracy theories stifle internal debate within Chavismo. Chavez's emphasis upon conspiracy theories was not altogether healthy for democracy. Nevertheless, it is worth contemplating whether Maduro might have a point about how party primaries can be manipulated by moneyed interests. The political scientists Ira Katznelson, Alan Draper and Mark Kesselman suggest that it is an open question as to whether party primaries in the United States have really been a boon for American democracy. They suggest that having candidates chosen in party conventions might actually make the process less beholden to concentrated economic power. The problem with our primaries, at any rate, is that no candidate that fails to raise oodles of money and/or challenges moneyed interests can make it through the primary season.

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