Editor’s Note: In this update, Jose talks about the worsening corruption, hunger, and crime in Venezuela. It’s hard to imagine, but things are still getting worse there. As we get together to feast with our families this week, please remember the people of Venezuela, where 80% of the population does not have enough food. ~ Daisy
I have been trying to solve a couple of issues this past week, mainly related to my parents’ health. Dad just had an event with his equilibrium (he is almost 80 so it is perfectly understandable), and he hardly could come back home in his old car. Amazingly, he did not crash or got injured in the way back. In the pictures, I have seen he is alarmingly thinner. I will send him some nutritional additions as soon as I can. I have been going through some personal and familial issues that demanded lots of attention and care and had to leave the city for some days up to work a few days in a place without any kind of coverage, not even landline, in the middle of nowhere. I survived though.
Why the collapse is still going on.
Well, it is a known fact that a slow, painful collapse is definitely the worst possible scenario. Its effects are long term, the suffering it inflicts has effects on too many people, and last too much time. It affects other countries’ economies and societies, on time.
In our example, this is exactly what is happening. I read the report of a Venezuelan journalist, much smarter than me, where he explains the exact reason with very clever words, of why the mafia is still in power. His analysis is that the regime is not a vertical structure. Otherwise, it would have been much easier to overcome with conventional methodologies. The reason is that the structure is not like, for example, the Iraq government where Saddam controlled everything.
In Venezuela, the power is exerted by small, powerful because they are armed and have support from traitors as internal sources) gangs that are scattered all over the country. These can be with or without uniforms. It is very likely there are foreigners with them too, not openly but in the torture/imprisonment facilities. This kind of division offers new perspectives to know where exactly the combat should start. I would dare to say that, once we understood how they operate, it should be much easier to remove them.
Local warlords should have local interests…and local thugs to “attend” such interests, too. With some basic surveillance and taking care of the local snitches, enough information could be collected for some groups to start cooking something decent.
Yes, I am a libertarian. This kind of love for freedom is beyond nationality. That is why the communist world fears it that much and wants to eliminate it so badly.
But I would not like to analyze too much the political aspects this time. It is effectively covered, at least in its main aspects, in other articles.
An update from my wife’s family
I hadn’t written some other articles because I was waiting for my wife’s family to arrive, so I could include personal information they collected from their conversations with other travelers.
They made the trip, and the information is outstanding. They confirmed the 18 dead by freezing story in the mountains of Colombia. Being a large family with small children, they received assistance in some of the parts of the trip, even being hosted without charge in a hotel room.
To summarize, this is the general situation: people have to get into a large truck (regular buses are out of the game, there are no tires or spare parts) just to buy some basic staples, at incredible prices that increase every single day. The power grid is working just 4/5 hours a day in most of the country. Sending money is now increasingly difficult. The price of food is such that, even in a foreign currency like dollars, the numbers just don´t match: a dozen eggs is 9$, and one kilo of meat about 13$ depending on the area. Corn flour for our arepas is just found by the 12 kilos package. Rice and pasta, the same. If someone can live with those prices…
Law “enforcement” is completely corrupt.
It is quite interesting to hear what they have to say about the role of the law “enforcement” corps. They kidnapped people, asking for ransoms in foreign currency. The situation in the imprisonment facilities was…apocalyptical. Once they have collected enough money from the ransoms and what not, almost the technical stuff LEOs all of that city flee the country for good, and they are now in some place in Latin America (Colombia, perhaps?)…or even planning how to sneak up to the USA.
One of the most interesting investigators of this kind of stuff I have read these last few days analyzed very thoroughly about how the atomization and redistribution of power schemes are what has allowed the mafia to be in relative control so much time. With many small bands of thugs operating at the same time all over the country, and the LEO corps obeying just their own rules (presidential convoy was stopped recently by an armed group of intelligence corps, with the consequent aggressive attitude of the bodyguards, and this impasse conducted to the removal of their director, Gustavo Gonzalez L. from the chair. (You can google it). There is a lot of stuff happening under the sheets.
It is quite likely that we will see lots of nasty things in the near future, as the power structures diminishes and more and more members are “purged”. Losing control for this structure means that the ruling party in the rest of the country will be those with the uniform, the badge, and the gun or the AK. And without a legal system working, that is bad. VERY bad. As it can be supposed, this will not be a happy ending for those involved. They know that the entire world is against them. They are considered (as it should be) delinquents for good people all over the world. They have stolen our gold and destroyed our capacity to generate wealth via oil production.
Stealth mode is essential to survive in Venezuela right now.
This said, I have suggested to my fellows to activate their stealth mode. Old clothing and shoes, avoid too clean cars, use the vehicles as little as possible…Jeez, even using dark bags in case they found some food is wise. There are plenty of stories about thugs grabbing grocery bags, sometimes even stabbing the holder, if some resistance was found. Parking the car ready to leave the place is a need. A lot of assaults are carried on when people are getting into the vehicle. In my case, with my SUV busted, I had a backpack and perhaps my wife or one of the kids with another smaller backpack, and we got to the bike quickly. (How I miss my old motorbike!).
I have a lot of stuff that I was going to move from our house to my parent´s place, mainly equipment like electrical tools and similar productive, useful devices that a prepper usually has in place. But nowadays, roads are so lonely and LEOs are so…predaceous, that it is not a good idea any longer. A truck loaded with stuff will be a gold mine for those thugs. That is, provided that the gangs roaming in the desert interstate roads can be avoided, which is highly unlikely.
Rules have changed, and the very weak empire of law that once existed (the middle 70s to 90s?) is no longer present. It is not a countrywide situation, though. But now the Southern states, Amazonas and Apure are the kingdoms of the Colombian guerrilla. Thanks, Uncle Hugo!. You f—ed us well.
There have been reports on the roads to the East of the country (Cumana city for example) where 20 or 25 people gangs stop the cars and take whatever they want. LEOs will take whatever food you happen to carry, without bothering in giving you something else than a warning that you are lucky to not be going to jail. This is something to be expected in such a situation, and it can´t be more dangerous. However, it will not develop itself from one day to another; once things start to get bad and dope starts to be scarce…the hunger will make the beast leave out. The predators will go after the easier preys first. Or whatever they believe these preys are.
It is a hard compromise, but you can´t look helpless and unable to defend. There are a lot of psychos here that will shoot innocent people in the head just because they can, and they know that no one is going to come after them. If you could see some of the videos that have been uploaded about what the gangs are able to do…you would understand why I am so freaked out. Hands chopped. Picks used to drill someone´s head while a woman laughs as she is recording the footage. Jeez.
If you carry, and the situation goes the wrong direction, people under such a dangerous situation, should not draw without being ready to use their piece. Once someone knows you are armed, you will become a target: a good piece is a survival tool for the thugs, a very coveted element, and finally, a prestige symbol.
And that is the update.
This is the updating, people. I will write some more articles, as I can interview and gather everything that my family that just arrived a couple of weeks ago is able to transmit everything while it is fresh in their memories.
Thanks for your much-needed assistance, and your moral support! I won’t disappear again.