Why doesn’t the pressure cooker simply explode? Why, despite so much coercion, arm-twisting, and internal tension, doesn’t the metaphorical lid go Kaboom?
That rather bleak answer up above, although we will later elaborate, is because the criminal lads orchestrating this debacle are – despite first glances – rather astute. They are, for lack of a better phrase, “smart cookies”; analogous Oreos filled with cocaine cream, but cookies nonetheless.
They are well aware of the circumstances that might ultimately lead to the big guillotine sponsored hoedown. The Hawaiian shirt block party when The Hills have Eyes refuges swarm from up above and treat their piggish officials to front row entertainment; the spotlight drawn on a flaming pit, Diosdado Cabello and his ilk hugging with their backs a wall, as a horde of hungry Venezuelans test the strength of some very sharp metal girders.
Let’s put our thinking caps on and marvel at the bombastic level of neurons flaring up at Venezuela’s dung heap of a White House. In 1989, Timur Kuran fleshed out a pivotal work and study on the nature of Social Movements. A carefully vetted framework which he dubbed “A Theory of Unanticipated Political Revolution.” In a flyby perspective, aerial drone view, T. Kuran basically laid down a valid checklist of the various conditions needed in order for the shit to hit the fan. 6 stages for pandemonium to prickle into existence and ultimately lead to lasting change. Venezuela, thanks to governmental oversight and manipulation, only skims these biblical revolutionary tablets.
In order for the cooker to go nuclear, there must first be uncontainable pressure. Kuran believes that the first stage in a reactionary upheaval, Discontent of the Masses (Ongoing preference falsification of the mass) is pivotal. Psychologically, Kuran proposes, individuals tend to convey preferences that differ from what they genuinely want; they tailor their behavior to what is socially acceptable regardless of their wellbeing and happiness. They get in line, with intellectual narrowness and binding ossification of free will, and venture knee deep into Choice Blindness and Social Proof territory. In other words:
“My leg’s on fire… well, that guy’s head seems to be doing its own Human Torch… Oh and that chick’s skirt is blazing… Oh, I see, everyone’s on fire! Well, smarts like a son of a bitch, but why rock the boat, seems to be the new fashion.”
Eventually, it is on stage 2 – of Kuran’s doctrine (Shift in the density of private preferences) – that the government’s Sisyphean’s trudge hits a snag, and the rock rolls over their lifeless body. It is not a group or a party that ultimately takes a sledgehammer to the mold but a lone individual. The emotional equilibrium shatters and a lone voice can rapidly find its discontent amplified. His or her message quickly becomes the clarion call for the marginalized. One cartoon, banner, podcast, or tweet and suddenly the sidelined and bedraggled perk-up. Everyone taking their heads out of their asses.
“Fuck this! This is bullshit! I don’t want to be on fire! I’m getting off!”
Many Totalitarian regimes bank and actually work with Timur’s assumptions and not against them, Using the scholar’s algorithm to curb any revolutionary phenomenon. Widdling the narrative masterfully to their ends.
Maduro’s think-tank has taken a varied approach in order to not only disseminate the shockwave of any social upheaval but actually dampen it from the get-go.
Like any good cook, it knows when and how to control a pressure cooker; with the flourish of Gordon Ramsey, Maduro’s cronies pop the lid whenever necessary. What’s on the menu? Controlled acts of chaos with a helping of anarchy and sideorder of oppression . They allow the Opposition to march, to scream with storm and fury at the administration. To feel like their actions matter, their general ardor – months on in – actually making a difference; they defuse the bomb by giving their nemesis a divan to air their grievance. There is nothing more cathartic, a balm to the soul, than breaking some shit up. Nothing more fulfilling than going back home and pridefully displaying your bruises and bumps; you fought the Man, might as well take the weekend off.
Secondly, they Rock Concert the lone subversive voice with Opposition produced Heavy Metal tape. That one solitary individual, that might actually create a Bob Dylan shift in the industry, drowned out by a record rack’s worth of synthesized Sid Vicious medleys and the occasional Katy Perry, Corina Machado, beat.
In December 2017, every Political graybeard was banking that, after 18 years, the end was nigh. A breathtaking amount of violent acts were taking place in Venezuela. Un-precedented looting, complete disregard for authority, a currency in flaming free-fall, hunger rampant, food riots hourly on the clock, more international sanction that you can shake a stick at, and an actual vigilante “freedom fighter” cell operating within the country’s borders … The top was bulging.
The President looked out at the banners spelling his end and hangman inspired posters and flipped the Apocalypse off.
Maduro only had to dust off the mothballs from his scrutinized and winning playbook in order to get the rabble-rousers in line. In one week, the cagey calculating fox snapped the hoi polloi back in line. The “freedom fighter” was executed – with the equivalent of bringing a tank division to squash out a fly –
and, before the riff-raff could file up a stink, Maduro’s muppet, Diosdado Cabello, bellowed:
“If the world wants to apply sanctions, we will apply elections!”
The race was on. A snap, anti-constitutional, unilateral and gallingly fraudulent voting process was announced. A sigh of relieve was overheard as the proletarians laid down their pitchforks and, with the same blind spirit of a turkey days from Thanksgiving, decided to give democracy another try. Why not? Another round of fixed Russian Roulette. One part of the equation with a loaded Colt, the other pointing a NERF gun to their heads.
The steam went out, the ballon fizzled and status-quo revived with paddles.
Maduro, doing the patented Monty Burn’s finger fandango, telling his councils:
“In a week, we will disseminate the fact the Opposition can’t run ; make something up. Oh, and by all means find me some cat’s paw, a real pushover, I can run against . This has to be legitimate… Diosdado, print out the results while you’re at it.”
Why, if it has worked for 18 years, should you mess with a classic strategy?