In the recording, opposition members detail their plans to create violent conflicts outside supermarkets in order to provoke repression by state security forces.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro revealed on Wednesday a recording that allegedly shows a plot by members of the right-wing opposition to sow chaos near supermarkets. President Maduro shared the recording during his annual address to the nation.
Venezuelans have faced product shortages and long lines at stores, in large part due to deliberate hoarding by companies, and the opposition has deliberately worked to take advantage of these shortages and cause disruptions.
In the recording, Ivan Carrratu Molina, a security official under former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez, and Jose de Jesus Gamez Bustamente, a retired Venezuelan general, discuss plans to generate violence and disorder in Venezuela. Their goal being the overthrow of the democratically-elected national government.
In the audio recording Jose Gamez details their plot. The opposition would bring supporters to the lines outside supermarkets and have them break windows in order to provoke looting by those waiting to enter. According to Gamez, this would result in repression by the Venezuelan National Guard against working-class people, the political base of the Bolivarian revolution.
Gamez alludes to the violent street protests organized by the opposition in early 2014 and suggests that the same strategy would not work and that instead the street conflicts should happen outside of supermarkets and not on main streets. During the three months of opposition violence early last year, the national guard remained almost entirely peaceful, despite the deaths, violence, lack of access to schools and hospitals, burning of hundreds of items of public property including buses and institutions. These violent protests, known in Venezuela as guarimbas, were widely unpopular amongst Venezuelans, even amongst supporters of the opposition. Their actions resulted in the death of 43 persons, the overwhelming majority at the hands of right-wing protestors.
Gamez also openly talks about promoting the opposition as a peaceful movement to the world, while actually hiding a violent agenda.
In a second recording, Gamez boasts about attending the School of the Americas, the military school run by the U.S. armed forces that has been widely condemned by activists for training military officers from the Americas in torture techniques and coup plots. Gamez himself refers to the institution as a “school of assassins” and boasts about being an expert in “psychological operations.” He reiterates that the goal of the opposition is the ouster of the government.
The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, denounced a plot last week where he alleged that members of the right-wing opposition party Popular Will intend to hire mercenaries to stir up conflict outside supermarkets in the country.
Audio of the recording can be heard below (in Spanish):