Venezuela 7 Years After the Collapse: Thieves, Fuel Shortages, Hunger, and the Black Market

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by J.G. Martinez D.

The past few months, thinking of going back to my country has added to my inquietude and taken a toll on my mood. Politics aside, the pandemic alone has changed everything. If tomorrow I was offered a European passport or a Green Card, it would be hard to choose. In the best-case scenario, I accept that I must live the rest of my life as a refugee. However, I think of what that would do to my kiddo. My son would never see his grandparents alive again. If this all continues as it is now, my life expectancy could be reduced to 5-10 years from now. I am not exaggerating.

What life in Venezuela was like before.

Back in 2016, I was watching some educational channels and enjoying a glass of wine in my air-conditioned bedroom. In my free time, I was teaching my kiddo how to operate my CNC equipment. I had him cutting and carving out some pieces, and practicing engraving methods.

I seriously believed things were going to change for good, and I would live long enough to see my kid and my grandsons go to college.

I´m not so sure now. It is likely many of you reading this are not so sure either.

What life in Venezuela is like now.

My hometown is small and it is (or was) peaceful. Everyone knows each other and you can still go out at night, though there are not too many places to hang out. It is a farming town, with small to medium-size farms. Cattle, pigs, corn, sorghum and tobacco are the main farms. Every now and then, there will be tomatoes grown and a few other things. Back in the day, the very best tomato sauce was produced there and appreciated by the entire country.

We used to manufacture goods such as matches, shoes, freezers, fridges, and more. Then, globalization was introduced. Suddenly, it was cheaper to produce tomato sauce using tomato paste imported from Chile, half a continent away. Now, we light the fire on our kitchen stove with disposable, and extremely expensive, Chinese plastic lighters. In the same way, our national brands of clothing and shoes, like Sergio Valente, Didaven, Laura Shoes, and many others, were replaced by cheap Chinese fakes that were not even close to the same quality.

Now, where the only law is the fear imposed by AK-toting guys, in unidentified vehicles, crime has increased in the countryside and in the cities. Restrictions on importation were lifted and those using foreign currency made huge fortunes importing from abroad. Just a couple containers with 400K worth of Christmas ornaments could be sold at twice that price. (After bribing the customs officers.)

(I offer you only this slight perspective now. More will be described in great detail in my book, scheduled to be out this year.)

Farmers vs. Farm Thieves

Farmers in Venezuela have routinely faced thieves. Why? Lack of weapons for self-defense and corruption of the authoritative institutions. If a farmer were to shoot a thief, even while his life was under deadly threat, it would be a real feast for the police. The farmer would be thrown in jail, with no communication allowed, for a few days to build pressure. After those few days, they would ask the farmer for something to fix that regrettable mistake.  Then the officers would make it clear to their subordinates that they, “never should have allowed this fine gentleman to be subject to such mistreatment, blah blah blah.” After the cash had exchanged hands, apologies were given and everything would be forgotten in a few weeks. Its been this way for a long time.

It saddened and alarmed me to learn from a farmer in the Los Andes Mountains that people would come from the town, walking kilometers uphill during the night, even when raining, to steal potatoes. Crops that have not yet matured are being dug out of the ground. Farmers have to sleep in their potato fields to avoid being stolen from. Unarmed, roving bands of four or more thieves have caused the farmers to arm themselves with machetes and pikes.

My brother-in-law is a countryside kind of guy, living in the little house they could afford in a barrio. As soon as they moved in they started a garden. However, being unprotected and without money for a fence in the back, it was quickly looted by neighbors. The culture where food for the kids was respected is now long gone in the modern Venezuela society. Back in the day in the inner towns even accidentally killing an animal belonging to someone else, was something serious. Unless a compensation was given to the owner, you could expect problems. I can see why. I´m sure you can, too.  In the countryside towns, everyone had chickens of their own, and chickens have been an important part of homesteading. Chicken thieves were usually beaten up by the entire town!

How is the gasoline shortage affecting people?

With the authorities selling gasoline for their own personal profit, it’s unlikely that anything will go back to normal. If anyone tries to stop them, they rebel and start shooting. They use any excuse they can to stomp on the people. Authorities stand armed at the gas stations, intimidating people on the lines. The most recent information is that civilians, even medical personnel, won´t have access to fuel of any type. Under the ruling of a failed state, only law enforcement and politicians will have access to fuel.

Farmers don’t have the fuel they need to run their farms, the tractors run on fuel. (A few years ago I contacted a manufacturer in Europe regarding electric tractors and even started a brief market research. Some of them questioned and laughed at me. I am sure more than one of those guys are now questioning themselves. I am now, he who laughs the last…)

As I write this, thieves have begun invading homes looking for cash and food, instead of jewels, or TV’s or appliances. Sometimes tools, so they can sell them to someone who works for a living and can use those tools. My friends pay 3$ a liter for gasoline just to pick up their groceries or to be able to deliver some of their own products.

My friends are paying 3$ a liter of gasoline just to be able to buy some groceries or deliver some of the products they make.

The people’s rage is growing.

Staying put vs. going back.

Staying put has made me feel unsafe, in jeopardy, and has affected my mood and my overall health. You may wonder if leaving here to head for my country and be with my kiddo, is a good decision, and how I am going to accomplish this given the current situation in Venezuela.

If there’s no gasoline in Venezuela, I will use bio-gas or diesel. Or, even better, I will make an electric trike or motorized trailer to push me uphill while pedaling the rest of the time! (The “uniforms” can shove their stolen fuel up their……) If I do not have any other choice, I will pedal my legs off until I arrive at my cottage! Staying here, overseas for much longer is not an option anymore. There are no other countries in South America willing to accept more migrants from Venezuela. I can not support myself here because there is NO employment. I am at risk of being kicked out by my landlord if things get any worse. And it is very likely they won’t get better.

One advantage is that there, we´re pretty far away from the beaten path. After planting some rows of pasture, randomly, in the middle of the road, a few weeks of heavy rain, and adding some dry branches and logs, the last few hundred meters to our gate would be acceptably concealed and not easy to find.  Unless given specific directions, someone just wandering around will not arrive at my front gate.

The most feared encounters are with the local lowlife variety. These can be quite dangerous because they see everyone else like “foreigners” even though we were born 30 km away. Mountain people can be weird That´s why I feel the need to spend my last days there in the future. Suits me perfectly. Locals are nosy by tradition, and too curious for my liking. But having never messed with them but on the contrary, helping them and being extremely respectful of their privacy, has been quite helpful. Now that I am older, that will be passed on to my offspring. I grew up in those mountains after all, and learned to love them.

Whatever is going on, it is best to be prepared for any unexpected hazards, especially thieves. They are desperate and they don´t care if the owner needs the hens that are being stolen to lay eggs for bartering. Concealing your place is a good idea. You may consider reinforcing your fencing, although, this can be counterproductive as it may make the average lowlife wonder what valuable items are behind those reinforced walls?  If I were you, I would get myself a few inexpensive, good quality crossbows, a payload of bolts, and enough spare parts enough for a zombie war. And. I would be getting everything as soon as possible, while the postal system is still working. With the current situation, I would much rather be there trying to survive than here exposing ourselves to disease. I have much knowledge on this and I know how to live with just the basics. I’ve been doing it for a long time.

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: paypal.me/JoseM151

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: paypal.me/JoseM151

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19 Responses

  1. Nothing like Socialism’s Animal House where “All animals are equal, SOME animals are MORE equal than others” and total lack of rule of law to take a country down.

    Cannot happen here in the USA? Take a look around at the police afraid to do their jobs OR simply obeying their Politicians orders to “Guard their Offices aka Chicago” or the Peoples Socialist Republic of No Police CHAZ in Seattle or the burning and assaults by CNN’s “Peaceful Protestors”.

    Our country IS in the middle of a Color Revolution right out of the CIA’s handbooks. Why? Seems the 3 letter agencies are looking at a last chance to avoid prison for their so far unsuccessful efforts to destroy an elected President. Folks like George Soros is paying Antifa the ACTION ARM of the Socialist-Democrats to make rioting so common that normal Americans will vote for ANYTHING to MAKE it STOP.

    And sadly all this is so far above our pay grade like the long suffering farming peasants of Venezuela all we can do is survive it. America Venezuelan 2.0 Surveillance State Socialism.

    Or as Ben Franklin said when asked after the constitutional convention if they had a Monarchy or a Democracy “A Republic IF you can keep it”.

    The Founding Fathers SAW the “Democracy Mob Rule” of the French Revolution they feared the Mob rule by majority and thus the Republic to protect ALL to live in peace under rule of law.

    Pray for wisdom and remember the lyrics of Mike and the Mechanics “Silent Running” soon enough the socialists will be the hated thugs only supported by their media (just like today) and their paid for peoples.

    1. They’re trying to discourage the police and public safety frontliners into quitting so they can be replaced by antifa operatives.

      Remember the scene in Kubrick’sA Clockwork Orange where Alex’s punk buddies have become cops, so they beat him with impunity?

      A vision of the future: a boot stamping on a human face, forever

      1. I am remember that scene all too well. which is why will NEVER disarm, even if fish learned how to whistle

    2. I live in the People’s Republik of Washington but no longer in the Gulag of Seattle, having left that socialist paradise almost 15 years ago. My friends who still live and work there are desperate to leave. Leftists are using this fake pandemic (and it is fake; watch the films 28 Days Later or The Andromeda Strain to see what a real pandemic would look like) as a political power play to take down a duly elected president who stands in their way, as commenter Michael opines. Their unhinged behavior serves only to fuel the resistance. Trump will be re-elected anyway, by the same folks who elected him the first time. His biggest accomplishment as president to date has been to expose the Globalist agenda for all the naysayers to see, and he has also shown us how to fight them. Antifa reminds me of the Viet Cong I fought as a soldier in Vietnam. All show and no go. They will flee for their lives when confronted by a threat, as we’ve seen in Portland and elsewhere. We have to take the fight to these people and not rely on the Constitution or our votes to save us. The response must be equal to the threat. SEMPER FI

      1. Dan while I respect your opinions remember that the Viet Cong WON the SE Asia war games, we came in second place despite spending several times the Gross National Product of Both N and S Vietnam every year we fought there.

        Never underestimate your enemy. It’s far easier to destroy then to protect and build things.

        1. Michael:

          Our troops won on the battle field. Dan M. is right on that.

          Our troops and the brave South Vietnamese who were willing to fight for their freedom were stabbed in the back by the U.S. Congress. A quick look in history shows who were in control of Congress at that time. Congress snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.

          By the way, I’m not a veteran. This defense of our troops is not to defend my own glory. It’s merely to give my honest assessment of what happened.

          1. R.O. you mean like the Police Officers being destroyed by their spineless Politicians today?

            You can win the battles and still lose the war friend. Our Republic seems well on that path today.

            Venezuela is a good country to study carefully as WE are going to be worse due to extensive social controls and electronic Big Brother system.

            We are preppers we look ahead and prep

  2. These two painful articles from the last few days additionally highlight the ongoing tragedy of the destroyed Venezuelan economy:

    Venezuelans outraged by slaughter of beloved racehorse for food

    https://nypost.com/2020/06/13/venezuelans-outraged-by-slaughter-of-beloved-racehorse-for-food/

    Mud-hut homes near Venezuela’s capital signal growing desperation

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-poverty/mud-hut-homes-near-venezuelas-capital-signal-growing-desperation-idUSKBN23K0KT

    –Lewis

  3. This article further illustrates the importance of long-term prepping. I admit, I had let my guard down some and was not as ready for the pandemic as I should have been.

    I made my first visit to our local East Tennessee Walmart this morning after 3 1/2 months and was surprised that there were NO canned pinto beans on the shelves. I could understand the initial shortages once people realized they may be stuck at home for a few weeks, but why is this still a problem?

    Any of you have insight on this? I know the paper products are just now replenishing, but wonder what this bean shortage is telling us. Thanks

    1. Mountain Granny maybe the reports of real lack of resupply in the warehouses is true? I have friends in the Wal-Mart system that tell me they HAVE NO CLUE what will be on the next truck and when that truck might show up. They order and hope what they ordered shows up.

      Food is a weapon of people control, farmers are being forced to plow crops and dump milk according to news.

      Deep Pantry

      1. I also work for a major grocery chain, and we are absolutely baffled by the shortages we are now seeing. I happen to work in the deli, and our cases are mostly empty. No one in the higher levels will even address the shortages. We order, and have no idea what we will or will not receive. One big thing we haven’t gotten in in a couple weeks is hummus. What, did the chickpeas stop growing? We get dribbles and drabbles of lunchmeat.Our meat dept. is better stocked than it had been, but the prices are outrageous, and some of the cuts are ‘foreign’ to most of our customers. We finally have paper products. Pasta section is ‘almost’ back to normal. Dried and baking goods are hit or miss.
        It’s time to start ‘adapting’ and learning how to use items you aren’t used to using, if you already haven’t. This isn’t over by a long shot.

    2. The weather world wide has been bad. The late freeze this year killed the crops in the northeast not to mention last year freeze and rains. In central Texas not even half the planting got done on time this year due to excessive rains. The world has had droughts, wildfires, excessive rain, etc. depending on where you live. Last year cannery’s were closing because there was no food to put into the cans. I live in West Texas. The plants I left in my green house is doing okay despite getting hail this month. The stuff outside have been hit with high heat one day and then freezes the next. Now I have had over 105 to 115 degree days this summer. None of my plants is doing good outside. Last year I was drowning in garlic and onions, but this year I will not be getting any. No it is not the virus that is causing the food shortages nor hoarding, there just isn’t any food. History shows that food shortages/famines normally last seven years. Now is the time to make sure you have some on hand or able to grow inside.

      1. Agree, Mette, on weather anomalies. We had a late hard freeze this year that wiped out our whole fruit crop and killed some trees in the process. In addition, the mid-East and China have been hit by massive locust infestations, wiping out crops. I have used WalMart grocery pickup and it’s a crap shoot to see what I actually receive. I’ve been told by a distributor that we have an aluminum shortage, so only the most popular soft drinks are being produced and put into cans. I suspect the same must be true for beer and other canned beverages.

        1. Don’t forget all of the weather modification they are doing. Supposedly they are trying to “dim” the sun to prevent “Global Warming”. At least that is their story.
          Is this all part of the attempt to lower the population to under a half billion people worldwide?

          1. That and we are in a solar minimum… the sun has been inactive which means we have entered into another ice age. Right now it takes more solar panels then it did ten years ago to do the same thing. How bad or how cold things will get is unknown. When the volcano went off in Indonesia back in the 1700 it caused a global cooling that lower the earth’s mean temp by a couple of degrees which caused crop failures around the planet. It does not take much.

        2. It’s so funny you mention the aluminum shortage, Fina!
          I made a beer run today, and they didn’t have my beer in our usual 18 pack. Was told about the ‘can’ shortage’ and how producers are only ‘canning’ their most popular items.

    3. Old Critter and I went to a Walmart Neighborhood market today. Frozen vegetables were very low in stock, especially the corn. The Lord let Old Critter and I to start preparing about 8 years or more ago. We are grateful that we bought and pressure canned meat while it was relatively low in price because now, people are having to buy lab grown meat and they say it doesn’t taste right. Lord willing, I think we are as prepared in every way that we are able.

    4. Mountain Grammy beans and rice were one of the first thing along with flour to run out in Oklahoma. Part of it is because the folks here still know what last and how to do it but part of it is the tv shows that people I’ve talked to who aren’t into preparedness are learning.
      One thing I know in real emergencies is that when IT happens regardless of what IT is you will only have what you have.

  4. The weather here has been pretty weird as well. Snowing heavily into mid-May followed by a heat-wave followed by early June frost. Some had a frost this weekend as well. Serious lack of rain. I’m trying to water as much as I can but it’s not enough and I just don’t have enough time to spend hours a day watering! This region usually has plenty of rain during the growing season but not this year. My garden is new to me; new land. Still, it’s pretty bad. Have never grown such pathetic looking tomatoes! Have given up on getting any spinach. Used to earn my living as a grower too!

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