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Conspiracy theories abound ahead of Venezuela vote

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm •  Published: April 8, 2013
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Maria Isabel Puerta, a political science professor at the University of Carabobo, said Maduro is spinning conspiracy theories to distract from pressing domestic problems, especially food shortages and chronic electrical blackouts, and shift the blame to government foes. Along with the plots to assassinate both presidential candidates, Maduro says the Salvadoran mercenaries are plotting to infiltrate the state-run power company and sabotage the country's power grid.

"It insinuates the transfer of responsibilities to the enemy, even though it seems strange," Puerta said.

Maduro's political opponents say the interim president is simply following Chavez's playbook. Throughout his 14-year-old rule, Chavez and his allies frequently warned that government foes were plotting to kill him, topple his government or destabilize the country.

Miguel Perez Pirela, the host of a program on state television, claimed last year that a newspaper crossword puzzle had a hidden call to kill Chavez's older brother, Adan. Intelligent agents went so far as to question the author of the puzzle, which was published in the Ultimas Noticias newspaper, and contained the Spanish word for "assassinate" intersecting with "Adan."

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Christopher Toothaker on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ctoothaker