By J. G. Martinez D
You must be already aware of the terrible water situation that people in most of the cities in Venezuela is facing. This is the product of the combination of several factors that I will try to explain. But please! Understand that we suffered the consequences of a weirdo military chief that NEVER had any clue about governing like a civilian, but giving orders and commands, and he ordered to seize all the companies and put them under control of the “State” because everyone should have access to water. Indeed our laws say that water is free; I mentioned this in a previous article. Companies therefore quickly found a turnaround to capitalize the right to ADDRESS, extract, and direct the water to the customers who did not pay for the water, but the work of having it “transported”. This is quite important for the reader to accept this. I have that feeling that sometimes people just refuse to believe this sort of things happen in some place in the world, much less in the same American continent. And yes, it happens. It happened to us, and it was about to happen to people in Chile, too, back in the 70s with Allende
Things that were once easy to get in Venezuela are now impossible to find.
This said I hope you can have a more complete view of what happens when instead of motivated employees, highly trained and well paid, you have underpaid, sad, ill-mannered government employees wearing a T-shirt with Hugo´s face. Well, that happened in lots of companies, originating the disaster we are facing now. Car parts, batteries, oil derivatives, all of those products that you were once accustomed to having in the stores in industrial quantities, have become exotic commodities that need careful financial planning to acquire and with a large mafia-style black market behind. Food is of course in the top of the list with proteins as the main concern.
A brief parenthesis here. I decided to go on board with Daisy´s website because her approach to survivalism and prepping is quite sustainable, something that was lost in our path to an apocalypse. We had everything easy and even in my town you could find imported cheese, Italian salsa for pasta, and some other similar delicacies. There was the possibility to buy milk from the producers, but they took over the farmers production and ruin it, just to keep people under control by starving them.
Start taking care of your health now, if you aren’t already.
If you make major changes in your diet NOW, if you try in some way to live healthier NOW, if you can move to someplace with a large inner garden in a near future, if you plan to exercise, get in shape, and grow as many of your staples NOW…you´re heading in the right direction. This website is overflowing with information that is very hard to compile working alone and I will defend that faced with anyone else. This is a strong motivation to me because I have had in front of me people over 70 years able to take a 30 kilograms tapioca bag in their shoulders and walk 4 kilometers through the mountains with it. If someday I had to do that, and I mean like now being much younger than 70, the tapioca would grow roots before I arrived at where I was heading. People, eating healthy and exercising is part of the preppers’ legacy. Your main survival tool is your brain. And your body is like the carrying case. Your primary vehicle. Perhaps with one engine backfire here and there after some beans, but…come on. Nobody´s perfect. Therefore, maintenance is important. No matter if we die of something else. We will leave behind a healthy corpse to admire. The stamina of that old man I saw carrying that bag, back there in my home town made me see how important to stay in touch with nature is. I have lost some excess weight, so much walking around here has toned my leg muscles, and I don´t feel so tired as fast as I used to. My ingesting of vegetables and fruits has increased a lot (because of the price of red meat, mainly) and I feel great, generally speaking.
Here are some lessons I learned after the collapse in Venezuela.
Please those readers who are just starting, consider this as the main issue. Stockpiling Spam, or sausages, or whatever you could think you need is perfect. But that is not sustainable in the long term, and perhaps if I could have made different choices back in time, our life could have been gone through a different path, and we would be in much better condition, sentimentally, emotionally, and financially speaking. This comes from my heart because I am almost starting again, older…but much wiser. I would like to say that much stronger, but it´s not up to me.
There is great, valuable information available, and we have to appreciate all the work and effort behind this.
I understand perfectly if some of you don´t want to walk down that road. I don´t consider myself a farmer by any means, neither. But I do know about chemistry, about some basic physics and some other stuff, and there is enough theory available to be able to grow up some decent crops from a good sized garden, no matter how inexpert can one be. I agree 100% with the guy that relies on his Glock for self-defense because you have to use what you have available, and what works for you. In my territory, a crossbow (homemade, perhaps) or a .22LR will have to make it (mountains, lots of trees and bush to hide in, a very different terrain to the urban environment the Glock guys are). Perhaps a sawed twin barrel 12ga, provided I can have access to some shells in the future after our liberation is complete. Even a good, old .38 S&W is a good choice in my side of the (tropical, humid and hot) woods. Simple, reliable and proven. Drop it in the mud and still works.
A total power grid failure will disrupt your entire life.
The most identifiable disruption, in my opinion, is a total power grid failure. The cause is up to you. Earthquake, winter, economy. Not relevant.
The relevance is that its consequences vary depending on the location, of course. For some people, this situation can be present during the winter. An interruption of the service that lasts 3 days in the worst of the winter, is enough reason to be prepared for a failure lasting ALL the winter (perhaps it’s just me, never having seen more ice than my regular freezer produces…oh, wait I was in the peak Bolivar in Merida, Venezuela. That is the closest I have been to such severe climate). Because we don’t know if there are people willing to risk their integrity to restore the energy given the case. In regular times, sure. There are lots of qualified, hardcore professionals that will do their best effort. But in the middle of an economic collapse? Will your standard average underpaid, perhaps uninsured average Joe go out? How about an extreme winter immediately after a pandemic, for example? This is something to be aware of.
Just shut down the breakers at home for a weekend. Make a drill. Get your genset out and start it. Everyone else should adapt. It´s time to sharpen knives, to oil leather jackets, to read a book, teach the kids to shoot with a bow, you get the point. I like the idea of solar chargers and batteries for small devices, flashlights and perhaps radios for some entertainment and local comms. Do you have safe candle holders to save your batteries at night or some other non-hazardous way to provide lighting? I read the very sad news of a diesel lamp setting fire to an apartment a few days ago, with two small children injured with 2nd and 3rd-degree burns. City people, totally unprepared for these kinds of madness and penury. I spoke with this friend of mine, former boss, very prepared. Lived in Canada and the USA. A really nice guy. He told me that people in small cottages in rural environments have been less affected, so to speak, because of the power failure. I told him that things are going to be much worse. He’s an engineer too, and he knows. Unfortunately, he is not in the prepper lifestyle, despite I tried to influence him to take some basic measures in the past, but back in those days money already was getting tight for everyone (2015).
They’re struggling still there, and he keeps me updated. He says that most of the food is now (thanks to the good weather) limited to local crops. No cold chain to bring apples from Colombia or Brazil, for example. Just things that can be grown locally. Corn, papayas, tapioca, black beans, red beans, white beans, lentils…all kind of beans. Cheese is a luxury item. Eggs, meat, all of this needs cold, and the prices are a total craziness. This was to be expected, though. He mentions as well that people in secluded cottages, albeit having some security problems with trespassers, but nothing worth mentioning here. A couple of starving people here and there stealing whatever they can from the crops, but mostly they just leave them be. They go and plant again the perimeter, and that keeps them away from getting too close to the house. Dogs have been very useful too.
Life has gone backward one hundred years in some places.
Candle lighting, firewood cooking, expensive proteins, no antibiotics, or modern medications except for those who can afford it. Not even cellphone communications, and unless water can be transported to the main house tank, no tap or shower water. There is no electrical pumping of course. This could be solved with some sort of mechanical arrangement and a horse or some other animal, though. I hope to see this done soon. There are reports of the most isolated rural communities that horses are being used, as there are no spare parts for the most common vehicle there, the Chinese crappy motorcycles. These are not of the best quality, they break down all the time; when you have a working supply chain parts are dirt cheap. Not anymore. There are almost no spare parts because there are no dollars to buy them nor chain supply to transport anything. That’s why I insist so much in a good quality brand vehicle and a parts stock. Buying cheap can cost someone’s life. Including ours. A good business idea would be to have a small 2 tons truck and make some agreements to transport production to the city. Once you come back to the cottage, hide the thing in a barn or some secured enclosed garage, out of sight. At night in pitch dark, robbers will make their thing and can become dangerous if not controlled. I have recommended to the people in my subdivision to get every radio they can and keep it on at nights for security.
Interesting note. Some friends are using their car batteries (and their kid’s toys car batteries) for lighting, with cheap LEDs. One 12v battery will light for 3 days in a row before needing a recharge. This was a setup I already had for lighting: an old car battery, a row of LEDs and a small solar battery charger, with some cheap switches. 12 hours of Venezuelan sun are more than enough for powering a laptop with a proper converter, even if the battery is not 100% new. This remaining capacity can be used. Oh, and once depleted the lead could be really useful…use your imagination.
People in the city are desperate and would buy all kind of food but they do not have money. This is extremely dangerous. The currency being used is the dollar, and without power, it is going to be hard to imagine what will happen with the electronic banking transfer. Just a few days ago someone informed me that the maintenance board of the subdivision is charging 2$ for basic chores like cleaning and keeping the electric gates working. These are now useless, and car owners have to get out of the car and open them manually, exposing themselves. Another reason to have some kind of deterrent.
Thanks for reading!
I look forward to your kind comments, and your much needed assistance!
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. paypal.me/JoseM151