Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has been claiming for months that most of his country’s problems are the result of an economic war being waged against Venezuela by the United States. Now, with the country collapsing into chaos and opposition figures turning in nearly two million signatures for a recall referendum, Maduro is taking his invasion conspiracy theory to a new level. The NY Times reports:

Venezuela’s military is ready for the looming invasion by the United States.

That was the message President Nicolás Maduro seemed eager to convey over the weekend as he presided over a military exercise that put his country’s troops and weaponry center stage in the midst of a political crisis.

“We’re as ready for an invasion as we’ve ever been,” Mr. Maduro said during a speech, standing in front of an armored vehicle…

Mr. Maduro’s government has been hyping the threat of an American invasion for several weeks. In April, propaganda outlets controlled by the state reported on a supposedly leaked document from the American military that detailed the invasion plan. The document, titled “Venezuela Freedom-2 Operation,” is bogus, a said Col. Lisa Garcia, a spokeswoman for the United States Southern Command.

Needless to say, America is not about to invade Venezuela. This is classic strongman behavior, i.e. find a foreign threat to distract people from their own worsening misery. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council continues to drag its feat on the first step of the recall process. UPI reports:

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, or CNE, on Tuesday said no date has been scheduled for the start of the second phase of petition signature collection for the recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro

The MUD [opposition party] in late April complied with the electoral council’s requirement to gather enough signatures to proceed with the recall effort. The MUD collected more than 1.8 million signatures, surpassing the nearly 200,000 that were needed.

After completing the first phase of the petition process, the opposition is waiting for the CNE to provide the necessary documents to move ahead with the final phase.

If the socialist government can delay the referendum until next year then Maduro’s Vice President would serve the remainder of his term. That would keep the socialist party in power for at least two more years.

Of course having another face in charge of the same policies is not going to change the situation for the better. At some point even the folks who are still listening to state-owned media are going to realize the American invasion is not coming. At some point, people will have had enough lies about who is really responsible for their predicament.