Nicolás Maduro keeps talking about an alleged “economic sabotage” against the country. Government ministers toe the line and blame the “S” word for almost everything (from the electric crisis to possible speculation) using it as an excuse to spend public money on useless stuff.
In the end, sabotage has now become part of our everyday vocabulary, just like another fancy word chavistas like to use quite a lot: “magnicidio.”
Just like they did with the “M” word, Últimas Noticias has kept count in that regard. Since the year 2000, and up until last week, the government has barked “sabotage” at least 132 times. Most of the cases are related to the electrical crisis (33 times), but the oil industry (29 times, including the Amuay explosion) and the electoral system (13 times) get high mentions.
It looks like Mr. Maduro will surpass the late comandante supremo in using the “S” word. While Hugo Chávez used it quite sporadically over the years (19 times in total), Maduro has mentioned it 18 times… 14 of them since April, and five this month alone. (Probably six times if we include his most recent mention, linked at the top of this post).
One thing is to publicly denounce sabotage, and another is to take action against it. In that regard, the government has been really slow. Only in seventeen cases of 132 total, specific details have been released, and formal investigations were initiated in just 21 cases.
Sabotage was used before for electricity problems mostly, but it’s now becoming the excuse du jour for almost every single problem in Venezuela. At the same time, the whole thing feels like a PR stunt. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the recent activity of the official NoAlSabotaje Twitter account. It speaks for itself.