Venezuelan conspiracy theories a threat to critics

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In this July 15, 2014, photo, a defaced billboard promoting Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro with a message that reads in Spanish; "Following in Chavez's footsteps," towers over a main highway in Caracas, Venezuela. Announcements of foiled coups have long been a part of the Chavista discourse, but lately they have become more frequent and elaborate. Opponents say the drumbeat of alleged conspiracies helps the administration shift attention away from domestic problems such as soaring prices and rising crime. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Roderick Navarro was in class when he got the news that a high-ranking minister had accused him of plotting to assassinate Venezuela’s president.

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