A Venezuelan Prepper Looks Back: “Things I Would Have Done Differently If I Knew What Was Coming”
by J.G. Martinez D.
Having overcome a few personal incidents that rocked the boat these last few weeks, I want to write now about one of the most important experiences regarding the psychological aspect of prepping. Looking back as a Venezuelan prepper, there are things I would have done differently if I had fully known what was coming our way.
Enduring what we have gone through, even after having a proper approach to prepping, sort of conventional in a sense: gensets, water tanks, storage capacity, dry supplies for a few months, and other stuff, all of these are into the field of the conventional and regular prepping.
Off-road vehicles perhaps, or at least a vehicle in good enough shape to take a beating up to the retreat, radios, some food production and particular, merchandisable skills. (I lack a little bit in the field of manual arts, like pottery or painting, but maybe it is just me…I can change a tire in record time, which is an art by itself especially in a Venezuela where the roads are plagued with thugs.)
This is stuff that any person concerned about self-reliance should have covered. But next, we have to try to imagine what could be on the horizon that we have never considered.
I am not talking about prepping for every conceivable threat. That is just not possible nor practical.
What I want, is that you imagine what your action course would be just in case your worst scenario, one so bad you could not even imagine, takes place.
For those who have not read my former articles, I used to have a regular life, pretty good according to our standards in Venezuela. A good and well-paying job, medical care insurance, school at 10 minutes on foot for the kiddo. A sushi restaurant next to a pizza delivery at 5 minutes on foot, and so on. What else could you ask for?
It was all great until the apocalypse started.
How to identify this threshold is not easy for me nowadays. The more I research, the more I realize this was a planned action and conceptualized a long time ago. My generation did not have a chance to prevent it. The plan was already rolling and we were teenagers, unable to hold a gun.
The consequences would be foreseeable, for sure, for those who have lived through it already and had access to some information. Some people meeting up, perhaps some leftist candidate winning an election and slowly washing the face to the communists…the real bad guys, I mean.
But definitely, the most alarming warning sign was the food rationing: this was the cherry of the pie.
They took over the country, people included. In a country where the food production was once at industry level now is importing packaged food, box by box, for the leftist elite. If there is something left then it goes to the inferior members. Real vulnerable people got nothing, and that is why they are dying.
They started with the education system.
Trying to sell to the populace sociopaths like Stalin and Lenin as heroes of their country. Making attempts to the Marxist ideology look like the Holy Grail. They had permeated the national universities all over the country, by the way. “Fight against the imperialism” was their motto. Whatever that was.
Many of the fanatics when asked, they hesitate and mention the Anglo-Saxon empire, the USA, etc. Never defined their borders. Never could identify that enemy. That is not surprising, given the general level of education in the barrios, where most of the people used to live.
Private schooling was very different: one of our most reputed schools is called Emil Friedman. Under this general scenario, and with that dangerous little island, an expert in exporting revolution and crime (remember Mariel? Those fellow preppers in Miami certainly should) – all of this was predicted by some people. The bad news were that those people, had not a solid enough platform because they were politicians with very questionable honesty. The exceptions were not part of the mainstream media, which found in Uncle Hugo a great asset for selling their news. But, enough with politics. I am about to puke.
What it was like to realize everything had changed
Imagine you are a Venezuelan. You don’t have a profitable job any longer, and you still have a family to support. There is no engine oil, and God forbids one of your tires should blow up. A belt for the engine costs several times your weekly salary. The parts factories have been overtaken by a mixed mafia military-LEOs-dishonest civilians, that won´t sell at the “regulated” prices (This happened in Russia, I remember reading about it in Reader´s Digest). Hyperinflation begins.
You don´t have a place to go, because the situation and daily living did not allow you to build a compound in a safe place that was large enough for being sustainable.
The situation gets worst every day. Prices in electronic, paying via bank transfer are much higher than in cash but it is impossible to get cash. People are calling to their day jobs to quit because they can´t get there, and anyway, salaries are not enough to make a decent living, not even to be able to eat a couple of days.
You are a professional with a wage or run a business that is quickly falling apart. You see on your way home families tearing up the garbage bags in the streets looking for something barely edible. Every day your kid arrives home with the news about some other school partner had to leave the country with his family.
The medical attention is almost impossible to get with a salary. Doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals have left.
What do you do?.
You have to think outside the box to survive.
If you keep thinking inside the box and hoping for the things will improve, good luck. Chances are that is not going to happen that way. On the contrary.
Leaving out early will give you an edge over the rest of the people. If you are a prepper, there comes a point after your preps have been consumed, and there is no way to keep living, in order to survive we have to make choices. Informed, calculated, firm but somehow flexible decisions.
This is not going to be easy. You’re not (most likely) going to end gathered together around a bonfire, singing “Kumbaya”, and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows while the entire country falls apart in the cities. After the last hot dog has been eaten, and there is no way to replenish supplies, that is when the bad weather starts. Without enough resources and the proper mindset (like being ready to eat fish every day, for instance, if you have a river close enough) it is going to be three times that hard.
The Venezuelans lost the ability to hunt other thing that stray animals in the cities, or pidgeons, as our wildlife was predated so heavily for years of government negligence (60 years as a minimum) that it is impossible to think in putting meat on the table with a rifle, except for some very skilled persons in very secluded areas. And oh, by the way, did I mention that the rifles for hunting and the handguns were seized to those stupid enough to take them to the military for “licensing” in 2012? They never got their guns back. They would have been useless anyway because there was no longer any ammo available.
Here is the most important part: you must try living with less. Get rid of everything you could not take with you in one or two big 3 ton.trucks, or a couple of Rvs perhaps. I’m not telling you to sell everything that you have accumulated, but…how are you going to take it if you have to move?
Our species survived by its nomadic culture. That is something that comforts me the most these days. Cultivate personal relationships with valuable, genuine, honest and straight people.
There are things I wish I had done differently.
I am in a dilemma, as I invested lots of hard-earned money trying to diversify my income before the plan of the communists sped up, and all of my equipment is now there: bechtop drills, Dremel tools for finishing, electric sanders and all kind of tools, including my CNC.
With just half of that stuff, I could have already starting a small business here. If I had followed through with my plan of having a small, reliable and dirty cheap maintenance car for daily driving and a diesel truck, we could have loaded the truck and migrated by land, perhaps with both cars and even my Berta, my beloved bike with her wonderful roaring 74 cubic inches engine. Changing the papers of the truck for personal use would have been easy, and then it would be much more practical than a car. We could have retrofitted the truck, making it livable for the road.
With my equipment, just renting an empty lot with water, sewer, and power access we could have been set up for a fresh start very different to those who are in this very same moment shaking, freezing their backsides off in the streets of the big cities in the South of America, selling cakes, chocolate and churros in the middle of the worst winter in years. We could have been together no matter what, and I would have been able to spend those 8 months seeing my kiddo growing like a weed.
That is what I have on mind, indeed.
From now forward, I will trim my life and build with my own hands whatever I could need. No matter if the results are a little bit out of the standards. I still have some tables made by my grandpa´s hands, and even a small toy boat he managed to put together for me, now part of the family museum. They will be passed on to my kids. If the world survives long enough and they can have their own families, of course.
Some additional thoughts
I have been saying that, albeit not being someone excessive religious, growing up in a Catholic country, indeed allowed me to be free enough to choose the eclectic mixture I practice now.
I pray to the Creator and ask for help and protection for my people.
I like to light some incense for my ancestors (I like my place smelling nice, too). I see the sky and try to connect with the Universal energy, wherever it can be. My spirit these days has been shaken by the news about young people from Venezuela committing suicide, in their sorrow and desperation about the future.
Please, remember those young desperate souls in our prayers, and help them to find the path to their final destination.
Thanks, and God bless us all.
About the Author
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