Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Venezuelan Assassination Saga

Via Hugo Pérez Hernáiz: The Venezuela assassination* stories are reaching new levels of absurdity. The government makes accusations literally almost on a daily basis. Now one of the people they've accused has struck back, saying the government forged emails to make its case. As far as I can tell, the government has yet to respond, not even with a "the alleged forgeries are forgeries."

What I'd love to know is how these play with Venezuelans. A reasonable hypothesis is that chavistas will be more likely to believe the threats and support the government's responses (such as issuing arrest warrants) but how strong is that support? To what degree do the constant announcements start to decrease it? I would think that at a certain point even many government supporters will be lulled into a "crying wolf" attitude, especially in the context of the counter-accusations.

* in Spanish the word used is magnicidio. There is in fact an English word "magnicide," which means the murder of a prominent political figure, but I've never actually heard it used.


Hugo Pérez Hernáiz 11:51 AM  

I agree, these types of things will only be fully believed by the hard core of chavistas (and some international fellow travelers), but until pollsters decide to ask people if they believe in the magnicidio plot, we really don’t know. I think that for sure they are much less believable and less effective now than when Chávez claimed that the CIA was out to get him. Given the history of the CIA, those claims could at least seem probable at the time. But with Maduro, it’s a much harder sell. Why then do they still use this rhetoric and even take them to new levels of absurdity? Conspiracy theories are a complete world-view that goes together well with anti-imperialism and a revolutionary siege mentality. It is a good and easy way of explaining evils, errors, and blaming others for mistakes. It makes it easy to “understand” why the arrival of the utopia is taking so long: a conspiracy is delaying it. Besides, the Venezuelan government has been claiming conspiracies are responsible for every wrong for so long now, that I think they find it very hard to come up with a new story.

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