While it is not my intention to portray my homeland as one where terror and fear reign supreme, there are a few lessons about safety farmers have learned here that American farmers would be prudent to learn as well. We live in relative tranquility in a small rural town at a decent distance from the capital city. Venezuela is abundant in haciendas. Corn and rice production has increased, against all prognostics.
However, living in the countryside is a risky business.
There are gangs that, from time to time, can spread fear and havoc. Isolated, secluded farms seem to be the these gangs’ favorite targets. While isolated farms make for great survival retreats, one should be aware of the difficulties of asking for help when bad people show up.
How to manage this problem is not easy. Usually, people in the nearby towns are so poor that they will hide these gang members and will lie about those stealing from the farms to protect them from the law. Hiring someone from these towns is like playing Russian roulette. A huge percentage of these robberies (even at gunpoint) are committed by thugs that previously managed to get hired on the farms so that they could secretly collect all the intel they needed on how to best rob the place.
How many laborers, windows, rooms, safes, valuables, vehicles, guard dogs, and guards are all common bits of information these hired hands will find out for their buddies. While I don’t portray my country as a land of outright violence, the existence of huge gangs with names like “The Train of Aragua” is a fact that can’t be ignored. These are almost paramilitary organizations, rivaling in cruelty and as dangerous as the Maras from El Salvador.
They seem to be interested in larger haciendas with vast commercial operations rather than small mom and pop farms. However, predators tend to choose easy prey.
How rural predation works here in Venezuela
In many places, laborers refuse to use bank accounts and electronic payment cards. Most of them can write and read, but they prefer to receive their weekly payment in cash. At $25-30 each week per laborer, a farm with five employees will need $150 cash. This little money is a more than enough reason to ambush the patron when he comes from the nearby town with the money.
Some laborers even sell information to gangsters once the patron has left out to town to look for their salary money. Then these thugs will patiently wait outside the bank offices or even at the very same gate of the compound. These tactics are not exactly exclusive to Venezuela; this is a modus operandi brought by Colombians when there was no electronic transfer.
Extortion of hacienda owners and blackmail under threat of harming relatives and family is another modus operandi. Twenty years ago, they kidnapped one of my father’s customers and held him until the family paid a ransom. They ended by catching the thugs, but it was because of the connections of that family.
The crime problem in the Venezuelan countryside relates to a combination of variables: common crime, opportunity crime, and even juvenile delinquency. Some years ago, another factor increased their presence:
The Colombian guerrilla.
Sure, many common thieves use to identify as “guerrilla” because of the “prestige” and the fear this name brings along. Many people here literally start shaking when hearing this name.
Petty thieves will run with water pumps, generators, wiring, and all sort of things they can get rid of easily and quickly. However, the worst threat is the gangs looking for larger profits, like a juicy ransom. Nevertheless, this is not exclusive to Venezuela.
Nasty things happen in South Africa as well. I would argue that what happens there is even worse, as the motives are even more sinister: to make people evacuate, leaving their lands behind so that others can occupy them. Their problems are different from ours, but the outcomes are the same: violence, instability, and uncertainty in the countryside of what was once a peaceful way of life.
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Here, it’s not unheard of for common thugs to sell their victims to the guerrillas.
Organizations from other countries have been aware of this particular situation for decades. Nevertheless, I HAVE noticed a decrease in such events in these last few years. Maybe because there is no opposition, and they control the entire territory already. I can’t tell.
A story close to home
Here’s a story for you from my very own neighbors. Their home is next to mine, and they own a hacienda in the countryside as well. We have been acquaintances for years, and I know this story is true. It is not so easy to read calmly, so please be warned.
The hacienda next to their own is property of a couple of farmers over 60 years old, living there full time. One of the laborers came late at night, yelling and alerting the hacienda owners, “Look out, there are some guys, and they’re armed.”
As you must already know, having self-defense means in Venezuela is considered a crime these days. People can’t get firearms of any kind. Should anyone stab a thief in their hacienda with a fork, even if the thug lives, the problems with the law would be plenty. Too many to do it and go “call the cops” afterward.
When the owners went out, the four guys tied them up, him and his wife. After this, they realized the presence of a ten or twelve years old young girl hiding under a bed. The cronies were seemingly under the influence of some substance, as one of them tried to grab the child from under the bed while yelling, “We want blood! We want blood.”
My neighbors have told me that girl is traumatized to this day
When they told me the story, she was still under treatment in another country.
The bad guys wore ragged-up green military uniforms (a felony here, if you don’t belong to the armed forces) and stank as if they hadn’t bathed in weeks. The elders were treated poorly, but fortunately, they were too high (and at the same time scared of the consequences) to do something with the poor girl.
They found some alcohol, got drunk, destroyed the furniture, made a mess, and took everything that was left: some valuables, food, and other supplies. They then loaded everything on the family truck and went away, just to be chased and shot dead in the open country within the next few days by one of the armed corps in charge of rural security. The family was contacted the day after these men were shot once the laborers started arriving in the early morning.
This was horrible, I know. Just writing makes my blood boil with indignation. Nobody should ever have to live through that. On the verge of becoming a homesteader myself, I promised myself that something like that would NEVER happen to us. The difference is, that I do have the means to avoid it and a good head on my shoulders with some manual skills that will allow me to prepare a few surprises. Heat cameras, for instance, covering 360° of the house, and a couple of panic rooms to hide in while all hell break loose outside. (Remember my article about using sound as a deterrent?)
This is where silent “defense tools” come in handy.
And yes, I write this with a smile. Including some sort of body armor when going to inspect or work the fencing, for instance, is another good idea here. Keeping the “silent tools” covered with a tarp next to us or in some duffel bag is common. Constant communication with the radio central in the ranch house is logical. If someone wants to walk the extra mile, and use an inexpensive surveillance drone that could keep flying for 30 minutes, so much the better.
The world can be a dark place sometimes.
We all have experienced that feeling to a degree. It depends on ourselves, though, to take off the dark glasses and allow clarity to enter inside us. The following story brings along a message of hope, and it is one of the best traits I have identified the better half of my country exhibits: a willingness for peace and respect for others.
Unbelievably, one company in Venezuela decided that it was enough. Its owner decided to face the gangs, heavily armed with…a rugby balloon. El milagro del rugby: historia de reconciliación en Venezuela.
The initiative of Ron Santa Teresa (a rum distilling company) to pacify the region was providing employment! Nowadays, the same former gang members give football balloons to the kids instead of guns. It was a peaceful approach with wonderful results: the Project Alcatraz.
To me, this is a glimpse of hope and a message for the coming generations that desperation and violence can transmute into something positive. I never thought this was possible, but the outcomes are there.
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What do you think?
Don’t get stuck in a situational bias. Really think through the possibilities. When things break down economically, everything changes. How will you secure your rural property and keep your loved ones safe? Share your thoughts.
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.
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Beautiful story about recovering the gang members through honest work and rugby! I sent the El Pais link to several friends!
That´s wonderful. Many people said the Rum company is in bed with gov mafias, but I don´t care as long as they´re getting young men out of criminal activities.
America has more hunters than most army’s and there is all snipers
the ones behind all this have suicide drones. can you snipe a drone?
If you have been paying attention, you will note that those suicide drones have limited range and flight time.
Even with large drones, we could not track or attack insurgents in a 3rd world country like Afghanistan, a country slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
The drone strike against that supposed “bomb” maker that killed 10 to include children is a example.
“suicide drones have limited range and flight time”
“could not track or attack insurgents”
… but since they won’t be tracking you, but likely will already know where you are, that won’t be a limiting factor.
And how are they going to know where I am?
They cannot even stop “Your vehicle’s warranty is about to expire,” robo-calls.
“how are they going to know where I am?”
property tax rolls, taxpayer address, google earth scans for land under cultivation and the associated living structures. all of it tagged with an auto-generated “social credit” rating. “our side, neutral, our side, neutral, enemy, neutral” ….
‘course all that presumes “they” are serious. they’ll get serious, eventually.
And any of that information would justify a targeting package exactly how?
So, this is another one of those, “they know!” conspiracy theories?
The government cannot even enact mandatory masks on airplanes, and you think they are tracking every American?
Have the manpower, economics and logistics to conduct an operation like that, America wide?
“have the manpower, econonomics, and logistics”
“tracking every american?”
everyone relevant. like you. “who has the resources we want or can cause us trouble … ”
“would justify a targeting package how?”
simple. “is he on our side?” (checks social credit rating) “no.” “launch.”
You have no idea what you’re talking about.
The US government doesnt have that kind of computaional power if you connected every computer the government owns into one mass array. Have you ever worked with “big data”?
I’ve been an IT geek for a very long time. I worked with “big data” since before it was a thing. You have no clue beyond a few buzz phrases I doubt you even understand.
Your vaunted gangs will become ground hambuger if they venture much outside their cities. Do you have any idea what a bunch of gang bangers become when then encounter a combine? Crow food. And just to put a stop to your comeback, armoring a combine is easy work for a farm kid so we won’t have to worry about all their guns.
Let’s not even get into playing with common farm chemicals and their ability to burn or go boom if mixed incorrectly or hit with a high velocity projectile. Your vaunted gangs are far outclassed.
You talk like the kind of friends I should hang out with, amigo. If you want to have some ice cold Venezuelan beer some time, let me know.
Ever hear of duck hunters? What about shooting clays? Drone vs 12 gauge, guess which wins.
Hell the neighbor kid with his BB gun that spends all day shooting birds in the air has the drone’s number.
Those drones have to be close to have any kind of resolution unless you’re talking seriously high end cameras that come with a serious high price.
Then there are th hunters that regularely shoot running critters with a target area of 4 square inches at 200 to 300 yards.
Did you know the Brits took out Migs in the Falklands with rifles? Well they did.
Then there’s two devices easy to come by – 1000 watt or more microwave and a small satelite dish. A few minutes and you have a directed energy ray. Or lower tech a CB and a 1000 watt amp hooked to a directional antenna.
My buddy trained SEALs how to shoot, so ya we have those skills while you don’t have a clue.
I live deep in the forest in the Midwest. We are armed to the teeth, we don’t take kindly to interference on our property! I carry a side arm at night when I take my hound out to pee. Why you might ask? Because we have coyote’s wolf’s, cougars, bears, and all types of things that creep in the night! I was worried when I first moved out here, didn’t know the neighbors . My mind was put at ease when one Saturday I saw some neighbors of mine shooting at coyote’s from there deck with an AR 15 ! I was thankful we had some like minded people here, and I made friends with them. We have lots of farms and most of the farmers are also hunters.
That is one of the real reasons the city gang doesn´t understand the gun culture. Out in the woods you NEED a defense tool.
fact of the matter is that throughout human history, gangs and banditry are the successful go-to method of survival in hard times. they’re never eliminated by the famers and peasants, rather they are eliminated by ever larger gangs. eventually the largest gang takes on the role of “government” – “let us loot you gently and legally, and we’ll eliminate the other gangs that loot you harshly”. that’s how it’s done.
What do you call a band of armed farmers?
What do you call a large group of liken minded, and armed people?
Citizens of a community, with their own government.
You might want to concentrate on why you cannot get a decent group shooting a bolt rifle at 100yrds before commenting on security.
“What do you call a band of armed farmers?”
“You might want to concentrate on why you cannot get a decent group shooting a bolt rifle at 100yrds before commenting on security.”
(grin) touche. and you might want to consider that many of the gangs will be better armed, better equipped, and better trained than you.
Have you conducted a survey of farmers? How many of them are former vets?
Consider the number of regulars posting here on TOP.
Matt in OK
just to name a few, off the top of my head.
AlterEgo1, not sure she was a vet, but I would want her on my side.
Let me see, reading various news articles about gang shootings, their backgrounds after apprehension, the significant majority of them used handguns and applied the spray and pray method of shooting. Few had have any kind of military or small team tactics training.
There are one offs, but not the significant majority.
How many of them can do the 5 For 5 Dime Challenge?
“reading various news articles about gang shootings”
oh, I see the problem. you think I mean inner city gangs. no, I mean professional gangs. career bandits. informal armies.
Reading the news, professional organized gangs seem to reside in the cities.
The recent smash and grabs in San Fran and in the higher priced zip code areas as of the past year.
Drug cartels coming across the border? They tend to keep to the cities as that is where most of their customer base is.
Informal armies? In US? Those yahoos who “attempted” the kidnapping of the MI governor with the . . . help, of the FBI?
I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that our situation is hopeless and we should just not resist or try to survive?
I find the replies a bit hard to decipher who is replying to which comment. Mine above is directed at ant7.
An online preacher I stopped listening to pushes “country living”, as if that will save people. He thinks he & his family are safe in the countryside. A lot of us can’t or don’t want to be rural; the LORD will protect His people no matter where we are. “Grow your own food”, he says. He’s in Florida; I’m in a short growing season in Canada. I don’t want to garden anymore, we do what we can. God help all of us.
The whole “grow your own food” thing is BS.
It takes ACRES to actually GROW enough to survive and virtually no one has the combination of acreage, weather, manpower, seeds, and SECURITY to do so.
Weather is terrible across North America. No area is “stable” to grow food in abundance except maybe Tennessee.
Well, one thing is for sure.
I WON”T STARVE.
I plan to EAT every fool that crosses my property line.
Dress them like a mule deer.
135,000 calories in the human body just waiting to be cooked.
Hope it all kicks off soon.
I am sick of BLM, Antifa and Liberal commies and the only way to kill Communism is to KILL COMMUNISTS.
Good afternoon Gunny,
I would not recommend eating anyone . . . based off the average American diet, it would be the equivalent to eating junk food.
And who knows what kind of Rx meds they may be on.
Maybe for the dogs . . .
absolutely correct. and not just like eating junk food, rather highly concentrated junk food, with the toxins of decades stored up. no, you don’t want to be eating any human at all.
Sorry Gentlemen, You are both mistaken.
The “toxins” you are speaking about are stored/concentrated in toxin cleaning organs like the liver, stomach and kidneys, but the pure muscle mass of thighs, calves, buttocks, biceps, etc are virtually toxin free due to the rapid cell turnover inherent in muscle tissue.
All that meat will grill up just fine and most Americans are heavily “marbled”…lol
In a pure survival situation, you never pass up good protein…ever.
Most of the population will starve in a month anyway and cooking them will help keep the place from stinking like Bangkok Thailand.
“The “toxins” you are speaking about are stored/concentrated in toxin cleaning organs like the liver, stomach and kidneys, but the pure muscle mass of thighs, calves, buttocks, biceps, etc are virtually toxin free due to the rapid cell turnover inherent in muscle tissue.”
Are you mentally deranged!? I also am dubious of your real world experience.
Unless you properly bleed an animal (any animal), blood (upon cessation of pulmonary production) will “set” into muscle tissues, you know, the ones you say are free of toxins because they are stored or dissolved from working organs..? You know what that blood contains? Spoilers! Every toxin that hasn’t made its way to the organs via pulmonary circulation.
Your post smells like poggie bait. You ain’t in the suck no more, gunny, e-7, ‘43-‘07 or what-the-hell-ever. Put down the turkey and post something of value.
@An T7 – Problem is, at 62, I won’t waste my energy burying them, and don’t want to waste good meat.
The only people that will be a “threat” are the most healthy at the time of the event.
I have researched this for 40 years. It is the only answer to the long-term starvation that an EMP/Collapse will bring.
I have food prepped, but it will RUN OUT.
Just like it will for EVERYONE.
We are almost there NOW!
Semper Fi Brother.
Hope you and Yours are safe and well.
thank you Jose for this insight, not many people know this issue, as you mentioned also in South Africa, where a genocide against white farmers is taking place for many years already while the world shuts their eyes and suck Zelenski’s.. MAD MAX is around the bend and the only way to survive is to react more violent than your attacker when it happens..
You´re right. The only message those primitive minds understand is that.
I won’t live or go vacation in a third world country. However, somebody told me Europe in the cities is just as worse and he won’t go there either. America does not seem too far behind.
europe has imported quite a bit of the third world. the imports were not changed by their new location.
Urban, rural, in-between… there is no place safe. But some places are safer than others. Conditions can change making more-safe places less-safe. But depending on those changing conditions I feel more safe out here in a rural area located within a conservative region in a red state distant from any big-city cess pool. As for an ‘All Knowing’ government, when have they done anything that wasn’t FUBAR? Never that I can think of. So how the hell will they ever be successful in subjugating an entire population in a country as large as the US? Where are the resources coming from for an agenda like that? Would they try and send in all those militarized federal personnel? I would view that as a re-supply opportunity!
Thanks once again for a real account of how things run when SHTF, Jose. The same happened in Argentina after the 2001 collapse. It happens here in Brazil and Paraguai, too.
One important lesson from his text and I think everyone should draw (regardless of country) is that things are much less cut-and-clear than most people think.
When crime soars in cities, it will rise in the country as well. Look at the shooting club attack in Georgia last month, three dead. As Thirdworldization advances, it will happen more often and in more places.
These things don´t happen in a sequence, in an order, nor equally everywhere. Everything is very fluid. Crime can be more random and chaotic (and violent) than we imagine.
Dear Fabian, the best thing we can do is trying to live as little in the most populated centers as possible, and endow our countryside households with as much surveillance tech as we can.
I would include a few good Brazilian hunting dogs, just in case.