What Life Is Like for Venezuelan Refugees: The Crisis Isn’t Over When You Escape the Collapse
by J. G. Martinez D.
I find the most difficult aspect of survival is to keep a positive mindset. Definitely, it is. The crisis is not over when you escape the collapse. While I expected when I got my family out, our struggles were over, they have just begun. Once you have been a successful professional, with an entire life ahead of you, and a good amount of the road already left behind, and find as refugees in a foreign country…this is where you really know about how strong you can be.
Or how weak, in my case. Don’t misunderstand me, please. I have been much more fortunate than many of my people, and I give thanks to God for that.
Some reflections, some advice.
These days have not been easy. There are a lot of people already in the labor marketplace around here, working for less money than they should, and rents are increasing because of the people looking for a place…and somehow finding something to work close to home has been uphill. My reserves have been in a slow decrease, and I am starting to worry a little bit.
I have you, unknown friends, but a wonderful prepping community that has avoided that the water covers my nose, and I appreciate that much more than you would believe (Receive our blessings please!). I had some cash stashed away that worked for buying my ticket and left just in time. I hold a professional degree that many people would kill to have, and skills that made me earn some degree of respect everywhere I arrived to work at some facility. I wanted to use this opportunity to spend some more time with my young kid, as a regular engineering work consumes a lot of time, and I was without my son ¾ of a year…but you know how it is.
School, meds for the kiddo, new shoes, clothes because the weather is cold here, and expenses all over the place. So, I have been looking for over a month now something in my former professional area, and opportunities seem to be not too much for someone my age. I am in the middle of the road: they look for freshmen or seasoned, grayback wolves with experience in management.
Why do I mention all of this?
Because it is slowly having a negative effect on my mood and my judgment. It is highly stressful. Even for someone used to working under pressure, in more or less hard conditions (try to work inside a crude tank with an organic vapors protective mask for 9 hours), and having to face hostile corporative environments (remember, the state-owned oil corporation is not exactly a bed of roses nowadays for those who are honest and righteous) it has been really…challenging, so to speak.
We have to be prepared for this: we will just have what we can carry with us, and we have to be ready to start from there.
I will make a parenthesis here.
Once upon a time, before the kids, I told my wife I wanted to live in an RV, buy just a couple of empty lots, one in our town and another close to the sea. Just a good brick fence, 2.1 meters tall, water, power and sewer connections, and that was it. That meant much less money in many stuff. Not expensive twice-a-year air conditioning service (4 sets, it is a lot of money in Venezuela), no expensive condominium payments, wonderful (and cheap) vacations, whatever in the Andes snowy mountains in Merida (yes we have snowy permanent peaks there) just to arrive the next night to the beach in Adicora, world-wide known for watersports. Of course one of my intentions was as well to have the capability to get out of Dodge in a hurry if things got hairy. Go figure.
But no, I fell in the deadly rat race and had to buy an already built house. I became a part of the machine, against my will by the way.
I would not complain that much, except for the fact that we are close to losing our children’s home because of the Cubanization of Venezuela. 25 years of effort, study, and hard work. Just like that. Mainly because of the revenge of the psychos Delcy Rodriguez and Jorge Rodriguez, the siblings who procreated one of the CEO Niehaus’s kidnappers.
If my first intuitive hunch would have been listened to, we could have been in a far better position.
Wives, listen to your husbands. Please. No matter how odd or eccentric your old man’s idea can be, he certainly has good motives to dare to propose it to you. Serious consideration, at least for a few minutes. Use your fantasy and your prepping mindset. With that “eccentric” lifestyle (no one in Venezuela lives like that! We would have been called that crazy family that lives in a motorhome) we could have been arrived at a safe place, perhaps facing some inconveniences along the way but we could have been together.
My younger kid refuses to sleep now in his bed and insists on sleeping with me, as he has nightmares where I go far away…again, this time not coming back. I have woken up in the middle of the night just to find him staring at me, a couple of times. I just hug him and keep him close to my chest until we both fall asleep again.
Now we are renting a place, God knows for how long, and spent a lot of money that hardly will be back in our pockets.
This is somehow difficult to write about, as I see slowly how difficult is going to be to return to normality…if such thing happens before I “fly away”…
I expected relief, but my mindset is still troubled.
Now let’s go back to business.
I have found the hard way that prepping is a lot like a financial investment. You have to be aware of the possible scenarios that life can present. You need an entrance plan and an exit plan.
You must not put your eggs in the same basket. Jeez, you should not even put them in a basket, use an ABS case instead. Polish the skills you already have, and use some time to learn new ones that you enjoy. I like to work with CNC equipment, and I already have applied for some jobs in workshops that use it, as it was my hobby that I was going to turn into a home business. Hopefully, my plan will work here, much better than there.
Nobody is a prophet in their own land, are they? I have been already practicing my broadcasting training while hunting for work, and I have come to improve a lot, just in a couple of months.
Once you see your family already settled up, that is where the hard part begins, which is surprising. I expected more relief. But there are the calculations of what you have lost. As sad as it sounds, your mind will go to that shadowy, cold place when you are refugees.
Perhaps I am used to those sunny days in my former tropical paradise of a country, and the winter is working against my mood, but I found it hard to stop to think about that. I had my last child because with a good job, a new car and a home, things were expected to be much easier for him. See my point here?
Now the uncertainty is such, that I don’t know even if I will live long enough to help him to get a decent home some day. Perhaps your self-control is much better than mine, or your faith. But I am describing exactly what happens in my mind, so if you have bad luck enough to experience something similar (and I pray that you never experience this), then you will deal with it much easier, my dear prepping friends.
I truly hope this is only a temporary state, and to be able to get my guts together again and fight the world with claws and teeth. It is my first experience of a winter. Weeks and weeks of cold gray days, one just like the day before. Not as fancy as I was thinking, indeed.
And I still watch what is happening in Venezuela
I just saw in the social networks that horses are being used as taxis, in a town called Ocumare. This is no joke, it is happening. In a country rich with oil.
And it is not odd at all: the military has seized the formerly private Duncan batteries factory. There is much less tire production. With a useless green uniform controlling everything as PDVSA chairman, there is no engine oil being produced for the public consumption: its production is limited to the trafficking…by the military, go figure.
There are a lot of problems to get the production out to the Texas refineries, which once received two shipments a day from us, and it is made for working with high sulfur content crude. The OPEC is going to expel Venezuela because they have not been even able to cover their production quota. No surprises why: even the well operators are fleeing out because they can’t even work with their stomachs empty and while watching their families starve, waiting for a box of rations.
Do you believe the Cuba experience was bad?
Then you have not read enough about what is happening in my once wonderful country.
Cheers, people. God bless you all. See you next week.
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