How Security Woes Make a Food Crisis Even Worse

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Venezuela has faced a multitude of problems over the past few years, including an economic crisis, political unrest, crime, and infrastructure that has already partially collapsed. These issues produce a significant impact on the country’s agriculture sector and particularly on local food producers, without access to large credits or other privileges. 

They face blackmail and bribery at roadblocks, adverse weather conditions, cattle theft, and other challenges.

Bribery at Roadblocks

One of the most significant security problems that local food producers in Venezuela face is bribery at roadblocks. In the worst of the severe economic crisis, which led not too long ago to shortages of basic goods like food and medicine, many people (this is still happening but to a lesser degree) resorted to smuggling food, fuel, and other essential commodities out of the country (to Colombia, mostly) to sell them at a higher price.

To control this illegal activity, the government had to set up numerous roadblocks across the country. However, these roadblocks became a breeding ground for bribery…and corruption. Local food producers who transport their goods from rural areas to cities often face harassment at these roadblocks. The officials manning the roadblocks have very low wages; then, they resource to demand bribes from the producers in exchange for allowing them to pass through.

This practice not only increases the cost of production for the farmers: they simply pass on this expense to the final customer but also discourages them from producing more food. It is not like this is something new; dishonest uniforms have been doing this since the Spanish crown times. But with the upcoming of these modern times, with all the societal control they grabbed, and with an International Court doing nothing (that is another history) until very recently, thanks to the good management of the new General Attorney, the situation became much more common. To make things worst (something this sort of regime seems to love), the words of the non-acknowledge “head” of State to the uniforms were: You will have to make money doing what you can because the country can’t pay your salaries. Go figure.

Oh, and by the way. Don’t think it can happen anywhere. History has proven that officers with guns will go rogue when they don’t receive payment, and they know the institutions are dismantled enough to proceed with law enforcement. Which is EXACTLY the situation down here.

Adverse Weather Conditions

Venezuela is a country that is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions such as droughts, floods, and landslides. These conditions have a significant impact on the country’s agriculture sector, particularly on local food producers. Droughts, for instance, can lead to crop failure, while floods can destroy entire crops and wash away livestock. 

Fun fact: in my native state, we have almost the same rain pattern as in the most productive province in Argentina. But they produce almost 300% more than us, of course: mechanical cultivation using machinery, and technology, added to a more developed industry, with access to much more credits, make the difference. 

And, thanks to their low latitude, the El Niño phenomenon, known to cause irregular weather patterns, has been affecting Venezuela’s agriculture sector for several years. In 2008-2009, and then again in 2015 and 2016, the country experienced a severe drought (a seven years cycle which seems to be repeating now, something that impeded me to start my crops up in the mountain hutch) which led to a shortage of food and water.

This drought usually has a significant impact on local food producers, many of whom lost their crops and livestock. This is something I criticize a lot. Just with some budgeting planning and a little investment, ponds could be dug out, and some organic layering could be used to mitigate evaporation. But for reasons I cannot explain, the producers are reluctant to make such improvements. 

Cattle, poultry, and crop theft

Theft is another security problem that local food producers in Venezuela face from time to time. The country has a significant livestock and corn/tomatoes industry, with many farmers rearing cattle for meat as well as dairy production and corn for both human and animal consumption. However, the theft of such products (including coffee) has become a prevalent problem in Venezuela, with thieves targeting rural areas.

Theft not only affects the farmers’ livelihoods but also has a broader impact on the country’s economy. Venezuela has been facing a severe food shortage, and the loss of cattle and other products only exacerbates the problem. Additionally, the theft of livestock has involved violent events, which puts the farmers’ lives at risk. With the current gun laws where civilians cannot own weapons, the thugs enjoy immunity and power like no one else in the world. Furthermore, injuring a trespasser would mean a HUGE problem for any homesteader. Very likely, the penalties would include decades of imprisonment…unless a “fee” can be arranged, of course.

Petty felonies are another issue.

This is usually the most extended but the most annoying and potentially dangerous at the same time.

Water pumps, wiring (even already installed on top of a pole), tires, irrigation piping, hoses, fertilizer bags, pesticide containers, even rolls of chicken mesh, or shadow mesh (extremely sought after by thieves, as it is expensive and very needed to protect delicate crops) …whatever you can imagine that can be taken, it will surely be targeted by preying hands. It even happened in my place. We have an entire bedroom where we disassembled the bunkbed to get inside some equipment: a desk saw, rototillers, a big roll of hose for watering, and a couple of pumps with a bunch of other materials, including even some old salvaged doors for a closet, and a wooden window, frame and all. 

Of course, things like car or generator batteries (or even the genset itself), and forgetting to close your car at night will leave you exposed. The more isolated you believe you are, the higher the threat once someone has discovered your place. A tall fence at least around the house, and a large aggressive dog become a good protection measure. In our case, fortifying our small but solid cement cabin with steel doors is easier than fencing. After adding the second floor, it will be much more secure as the ceiling will be much taller.

Other Challenges

In addition to the security problems, local food producers in Venezuela face a range of other challenges. These include:

Lack of access to credit: Many local food producers in Venezuela lack access to credit, which makes it difficult for them to invest in their production. This lack of investment, in turn, affects their productivity and ability to meet demand. Some interviews I have been doing indicate that they resource several loans from several different banks and distribute the money. One loan for fencing, another one for renting or repairing machinery, another for renting a bull…maybe a couple more for spare parts for everything mechanical, and medical care for the cattle, poultry, or pigs.

Lack of access to inputs: Local food producers also face a shortage of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. The shortage of these inputs affects the quality and quantity of their production. One of my goals is to produce enough digestate to partially substitute the lack of industrial fertilizers. Once they realize the potential and the low pricing, it’s going to be a blast. (I hope). Fixing the machinery is not easy; qualified people like welders and machinists are not easy to find anymore. Many have fled the country, as these professions are sought after in other countries in Latin America where people usually do not have access to such expensive qualifications. The oil industry demanded a lot of these blue-collar workers, but with the decline of the last decade, these skilled laborers went away. 

Lack of infrastructure: The country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, road lights, signaling, and everything in between, is in a state of disrepair, which makes it difficult for farmers to transport their goods to markets safely. The poor conditions of the infrastructure also damage transport, usually pickups and trucks of all sizes, as they usually have to speed up on the roads to avoid suffering assaults. (Keep reading)

Inflation: Venezuela has been experiencing hyperinflation for several years, which has led to a sharp increase in the cost of production for local food producers. They try to adapt, but the circumstances take a toll even in the mood, and many of them have decided to stop producing to supply a market and try out some other business with less risk attached.

Road Piracy: This doesn´t need too much explanation. This trend was bigger in 2018-2021 but it seems to be coming back. Pirates use the bad conditions of the roads to take advantage of the trucks that go slowly trying to avoid large holes or even lost parts of the pavement. Sometimes they have even shot the driver. Those roads are usually not used by any LEOs. Only a few battered trucks of the rural National Guard, now and then, with personnel on top, but it makes sense not to call the attention of a bunch of armed guys in the middle of nowhere.

Food producers face many challenges, and it gets worse post-collapse.

What worries me the most is that this can happen everywhere. It is not like it is a local phenomenon. 

Of course, much of this will depend on the culture of every country; but once things get bad enough and the citizens have no means to defend their properties…they will be at the mercy of roaming gangs of armed thugs in disguise.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

What are your thoughts?

Are you seeing some of these challenges in your area yet? What do you feel is most likely as the American system fails? Do you have any ideas for mitigating some of these issues?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Jose

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 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. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations:

Picture of J.G. Martinez D

J.G. Martinez D

About Jose 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. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations:

Leave a Reply

  • I can’t speak to the rest of the world, but I think what is going on in the U S is intentional.

    • There is a second amendment that insures our rights to keep and bear arms. Folks, there is a reason for that, governments sometimes are led by crooks and criminals. sometimes ya hav-ta deal with them in uncivil ways. if you want to go concealed the government gets involved. If you carry openly, it gets the attention of everyone around you, and that may be a good thing. At any rate, if you carry then make sure you can pull the trigger competently in a situation that requires your personal intervention.
      I hope I never have to use my peacemaker, but I was trained in the MP’s and Army and had to use those skills in VN in 1968. I hope no one ever has to use the peacemaker, but,—– if you do, be on the righteous side, and be JUST.

  • Fortunately, living in a small rural town, we’re not seeing a lot of the indicators of a pending collapse. That’s not to say it’s not coming, but largely we’ve been spared the issues going on in the larger communities. We see the Sheriff’s Dept. drive through once a day. The only time we here a siren is if the volunteer EMS/Fire Service gets a call out.
    Over spoken with several of the Ranchers in the area, rustling hasn’t been an issue, but all are keeping an eye out for it.
    I’ve no doubt that the community would band together for any threat. I hate the long drives to get to bigger stores and Dr. Appointments, but I don’t miss the hassle and threats of living in a bigger city.

    • I would have to agree with you. Living in a very rural area with mostly small towns, like populations of 400 or less we are spared so much of the metro issues.
      The only real indicators we even saw during the heat of the plandemic were masks and some empty spaces in store shelving. It was harder to get some things such as appliances and car parts too.
      No rustling here either. Mostly everyone is packing and most are pretty good shots as well. We will protect what is ours and help our neighbors out too. The challenge is knowing there is an issue since there are miles between folks here and cell phone reception can be sketchy.
      Mostly life has gone on as normal. That’s not to say it can’t change but I am very grateful to be far away from any metro areas and off the beaten path. Eyes and ears open and be aware of what goes on around you are the ticket here.

      • I agree with both of you gents.
        Things go sideways, we plan on normalizing open carry both a long gun and a side arm.
        Once everyone is openly carrying, lot less likely anyone does anything dumb.

  • Everything happens first in urban centers, but at one point it spreads to other places. Slowly, then suddenly. People start looking for and moving to greener pastures once things get bad enough around them. Not bad as they are now, I mean *really* bad.

    Thirdworldization tends to bring the worse in people, bad ones and also good ones turned bad by the circumstances as Jose explained. Corruption and inefficiency spread like wildfire once things reach a certain point. I took that’s Jose’s message too, and it’s true.

    Things are still relatively normal in most places. The stock market is up, oil is flowing, food is arriving, people are traveling, bands are touring. Everyone is making plans. The turmoil we’re watching is mostly localized, isolated events so far, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath things are boiling and tension is building.

    As for guns, they just make everything “the same, only with guns”. No one is really safe anywhere, simply because those who have nothing to lose and something to gain become too numerous.

  • Living in a rural area most things here seem to be as they have been. We are 12 miles to the nearest city (population approximately 30,000) where drug use is common on the street. Going there requires sidearms. There is only one main road between me and them and it would be shut down by locals in the event of druggies trying to get up here to us. Makes for a long walk just for them to meet their end. We practice SSS here.
    I have noticed more interest in local barter and trade. We have been canning all along and now trade our canned goods for eggs, maple syrup, pot which we use to trade for automotive services, and other small goods. We deal face to face. We know our neighbors and what they are capable of. Makes for a strong community here. I strongly encourage everyone to look local, work local, feed local whenever possible. Put away the phone, computer and TV. Talk to your neighbors, family members, friends. Talk in person when possible which makes it almost impossible to be snooped on.
    I am in a Constitutional Carry state that is 85% forest land and 95% Conservative American. I think that we will be better off than many.
    Stay safe. Live local. Be the Honey Badger. Be prepared at all times.

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