When Nicolas Maduro became president of Venezuela last year, he had big shoes to fill. His predecessor, Hugo Chávez, was wildly popular among the poor and was well known for his charisma, his compelling oratory, and his fear-mongering conspiracy theories about the United States. Well, Maduro isn’t quite as charismatic as Chávez was, and his speeches aren’t as colorful, and he’s certainly not as popular—in fact, Venezuela is in chaos as uprisings against his policies rage across the country—but when it comes to conspiracy theories, he has shown that he is worthy to be Chávez’s successor.
|Peaceful protesters in Caracas being teargassed last month.|
|A map of Venezuela’s constituent states, with the six supposedly secessionist ones highlighted.|
(The “Zona en Reclamación” at right is the western half of the independent state of Guyana,
which Venezuelan nationalists claim as their own.)
|Protesters portray Maduro as a puppet of Cuba’s Fidel Castro|
|Venezuela has red states and blue states too.|
The red ones went for Maduro in last year’s election, the blue ones for Henrique Capriles.
|Nicolás Maduro dressed as the superhero Captain Venezuela on election night|
|Henrique Capriles campaigning with Zulia’s governor, Pablo Pérez, and the Zulian flag|
|Anti-government protesters on the Caribbean island of Isla Margarita|
flew the flag of Nueva Esparta state in a recent protest.
[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in mid 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]