By Eduardo Sanchez
Nicolás Maduro has become known for unveiling supposed plots against him and the Venezuelan nation. Addresses to the nation, interviews and social media have become platforms for revealing what he argues are elaborate and transnational operations to undermine his government and even assassinate him. Maduro’s constant revelations of orchestrated plots could be considered by some as conspiracy theories that have come to dominate his rhetoric.
This is not a completely new phenomenon displayed by a Venezuelan president. Hugo Chávez himself was also known for exposing foreign and domestic agents that supposedly planned to assassinate him. Moreover, once he was diagnosed with cancer, he blamed the United States having being involved in his medical condition. Maduro was not shy to support this theory especially after Chávez’s death.
Maduro has expressed on certain occasions that intelligence services have helped uncover plans to eliminate him, ranging from the internal opposition to complex international operations that involve the CIA. Maduro has blamed what he calls fascist groups for organizing attempts to assassinate him and other important political figures that lead the Bolivarian revolution. Furthermore, the United States almost always seems to at the center of the blame or being responsible for coordinating and directing groups in other countries to do so.
Maduro’s fears for his safety have also impacted international travel plans, hinting at Venezuela being one of the safest places for him. Of special mention was his cancellation of a trip to the United Nations in September 2013, where a number of heads of state usually take advantage to deliver their national message and to meet with other presidents and prime ministers. The Venezuelan president also mysteriously cancelled a trip to Peru for a summit arguing health reasons, but many speculated that there were other security considerations behind the cancellation. Maduro even pointed at aircraft manufacturer Airbus for negligence over a failure on Venezuela’s presidential airplane (which he tweeted about on September 26), also cited as evidence of the situation being part of a bigger conspiracy against him.
But attacks are not only to his person, he claims that the Bolivarian revolution started by Chávez is under constant siege. He has talked about attacks against the economy that pretend to undermine his government, going further to link the United States directly to such actions.
Most recently, on November 1st Maduro’s Twitter feed was inundated with messages denouncing a move to eliminate thousands of Venezuelan Twitter accounts, some of them belonging to members of his cabinet as well as his followers (example 1 – more than 400 retweets, example 2 – more than 1,400 retweets, example 3 – more than 1,300 retweets). Some of the tweets used a hashtag created for this situation #NoAlGolpeFacsistaDeTwitter (#NoToTwitter’sFascistBlow). He also retweeted Venezuelan citizens who were informing the same, as well as other Latin-American followers who mentioned a similar situation with supporters of Argentinian president Cristina Fernández. He later retweeted the Venezuelan minister of communication informed that everything had been resolved, hinting that actions at his level had been necessary to correct the situation.