EYEWITNESS: Warning Signs That Should Have Told Us the Collapse of Venezuela Was Near

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Looking back, there were warning signs. First, let me tell you what life used to be like before the Venezuelan economic collapse.

I usually wake up early in the morning, without too much complaint. When I was working in an oil facility 58 kilometers away from home, I had to be out of bed and ready for the bus at 5:20 AM. My wife took me to the bus stop, where the corporate bus would pick me up at 5:45. We were in the office by 7 o’clock.

Then, work all the day with one hour and a half for lunch, most of the times without leaving the company facilities, in the restaurant for employees. Then work until 4:30 PM and take the bus at 4:45. One hour later we were arriving to the city again, depending on the traffic.

I would be with the family until kids bedtime, around 8:45 PM and would work online until 11:00 PM, daily, and would use the early morning on Saturday to dedicate about 3 hours of work while everyone was still sleeping. I enjoyed that work, and the payment was considerable. I had some savings and could buy some preps, spare parts, and send some extra money to my parents to fix their place, or so they could buy some stuff, like clothing, shoes, fix their old car, you get the picture.

This worked well for some years. But then, we had several malfunctions of the busses, and the service was getting worse. I am talking about 2013 or so. There was still food being produced, the military had not had occupied the food production plants and there was not food black market yet.

Tired of such routine, I found another position with the same responsibilities, but in a small partner company, in the same corporation, and much, much closer to home. That was great because I could go in my motorcycle or even my bicycle, could lunch at home, or even lunch in the facility restaurant and take a 15 minutes nap at home, be with my family, grab my coffee thermal cup, and go back to work.

Then the food rationing began.

Once the food rationing started, things never were the same. It was an organized operation. They stopped producing seeds and fertilizer, then started the food rationing and the huge contracts of food supply with external providers almost simultaneously.

The medical service of the company, free for the employees, started to feel deficient. Medical personnel started to migrate during those years. It was a very slow motion starting, but the signs were all over the place.

Our life, however, was still peaceful. We could afford some dinner at our favorite pizza, or sushi place, some beers, going to the movies Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the kids, and going to the pool to relief the heat. Not too much in the city downtown though – it never was safe, even in the good times. We still did all that regular stuff that people usually do. Perhaps excessively quiet, but we enjoyed it. Wife and I could attend some training in Caracas on weekends, in an area of our interest. Those were good years indeed. My salary was enough for make a living for the four of us, and the online job allowed to have some savings…and yes, buying prepping stuff, mostly. I would have worked harder, provided someone would have told me what was about to come.

Warning signs behind the scenes of the collapse

It started slowly, but steady.

Suddenly, the reimbursement of medicines, provided by our company full coverage insurance, and that we employees usually asked for twice or three times a year, started to become every two months because we needed the money flowing. The next year, we would request it monthly, and the waiting lapse for the reimbursement became increasingly longer.

Inflation was starting to flex the muscles and show its ugly face.

I must remind the readers, that we had been suffering an excruciating currency exchange control since even before Hugo arrived to the chair. This has been a constant in our economy, just to be able to make huge fortunes with the “assignment” of currency quotas and the corresponding bribe. It is a corrupted practice that comes from the 80s and has drained our resources at incredible levels. This practice continued in the 90s, with some variations: you were limited by law to a certain amount, and just for travel. If you were an importer and needed a considerable amount of currency, lots and lots of paperwork was needed, but you could import whatever you needed.

Travel checks were easily available, because they usually were used by travelers, and not by anyone else; once entitled to your name, you could not pay things like machinery, imported delis for resale, or some other stuff, so it was much more flexible to acquire for the regular traveler.

Once Hugo arrived, the control over the currency was total, and absolute. We could not use our currency outside of the country and exchange it for the country we were in. The government started to criminalize the possession of foreign money. This is not surprising. The Russians screwed it to their own people just like this. The main thing that made me see that indeed this was going to end very badly.

However, in those years leaving the country, if you had a good paying job and a loan to buy a nice house, it was not still a necessity. We could have it done, but the comfort level was still strong, and plans were plenty. I am talking about 2004-05. We could afford a new little car and the downpayment of our house.

There was a huge economic flow, produced mainly because of the crude prices, and Uncle Hugo firmly standing as the Savior of the Latin American people. Go figure. His ties with Cuba were there, but we never had a chance to know, until later, that they would be so strong and toxic.

What we are experiencing now with our economy is nothing new. It should be expected. We allowed the government take our right to do with our money what we want. We did not raise our head and say “it is enough”at the moment we should. We allowed them rationing the food for our children. Should we have learned before, that this was the same plot that Stalin used in Ukraine, things would have resulted much differently.

But let us go back to how life started to become increasingly harder.

I will ask for some space for a personal parenthesis here. My online job was offered to me once I was looking how to invest the remaining part of my salary. I was looking for some way to retire early in my life, and enjoy other activities for a living.

I got into a finances forum and the people that later hired me had read my comments about finances, and about technical and fundamental analysis, and I worked with them 5 years. Less than 10 years later, I was quitting my day job in the oil industry, after more than 14 years, without a second thought and fleeing out the country because the inflation rate was going to beat us hard as a family. You can imagine the place where my early retirement plans are now.

This said, let’s return to the warning signs and indications. With just 400 dollars a year in our credit card for electronic purchases (using a credit card for online buying in dollars is not possible now) we could buy some stuff that was uncommon or impossible to find in the country. I made a couple of short trips and could use my credit card, with a limited $400 and $200 cash for a 5-day trip. Go figure. This was while Uncle Hugo, his family, and the rest of the leftist gang (including that gigantic, despotic dumpster of a bus driver now in trouble with international justice) enjoyed travels to the entire world, even to countries he did not know that existed, and endless luxuries. 

Slowly but steadily, in the period 2013-2017, I  experienced the most devastating loss of life quality and buying power that someone could imagine. Once we could live with just what was once a good salary. Nowadays it would not feed anyone else than our furry family: the old Leona (our female dog) who guarded us since she was a puppy, and our two cats.

The stress of watching how everything was getting worse gave me a gastritis problem in 2014, but with the proper medication, it was easily overcome. After a deep (and accelerated) process to collect my stuff together, I decided that health was a priority, and got rid of the stressful thoughts, dedicating myself to pleasant activities like writing, meditation, and such.

Since middle 2014, I felt the collapse was there. We got the passports for the entire family, included my father, and that was the wisest choice I have made in my entire life, because now it is nearly impossible to get a Venezuelan passport except for the Chinese with cash in their hands, and some strange-looking, young Arabs, who don’t speak any Spanish and of whom the USA authorities should be very, very aware. My mom said she was not travelling: she is scared of planes.

We could resist leaving thanks to my other job until 2017. Intermittent internet service finally made my employer angry about the delays for some works and he ended the contract.

Things became dangerous in Venezuela. Several employees from my old workplace have been imprisoned on criminal charges, but this looks more like an attempt to keep them from quitting their jobs in the company. After I left, people I KNOW personally, are in jail accused of stealing a drum of engine oil. Jeez, the guy worked in the same corporation. I met once his wife and his little daughters in a mall. OK, perhaps he was participating, but perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I can’t say.

To ask for justice now, given the conditions, is too much. There is not a functional state anymore. The employees are too busy looking for the best way to starve more slowly.

Be safe, people.

What are your thoughts?

Is there a ring of familiarity? Do you see any similarities in our own situation? What are they? What are the ways things are different here?

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: 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

Leave a Reply

  • So, you would say?:
    1. Control Justice mechanisms (courts, laws, self-defense)
    2. Control medical aspects
    3. Control finance
    4. Control food
    5. Control travel

  • I think we’re there. Nothing is as it was. If the government can get away with tormenting Trump (regardless of how you feel about him), we don’t stand a chance.
    There are political prisoners in the USA that are openly acknowledged (J6 anyone?). The ones breaking the laws aren’t being held to account.
    Food production here is being ruined/ destroyed and what doesn’t disappear isn’t healthy to eat.
    We’re already in trouble and it’s going to get worse.
    Stay safe everyone!

    • Hate to tell you but the dollar is going to collapse within a year – the federal reserve is now printing 1 TRILLION dollars every 100 days – Trump will be installed again as president and as soon as he is in the white house the federal reserve will stop printing and the debt market will implode , collapsing the dollar , all the banks – global financial collapse ….. and they will blame trump and all that support him – He knows this , so why does he want to be the president that will be blamed for the global financial collapse …… and if he does not know this then he is simply not qualified for the jobs – So many economists out there screaming this ……. look at costco selling 200 million dollars a month of 1 ounce gold bars …….. all those people buying gold know this collapse is near

  • @Jose

    first section, fifth graf: you wrote ” I am talking about 2013 or so”

    third section, seventh graf: you wrote “I am talking about 2004-05.”

    did you mean to write 2014-15?

  • Thank you Jose.
    Many in the US are still asleep, lulled by the incremental erosion of our liberties and way of life.

    Looking back, would you recommend acquiring silver and gold as a good strategy for coping with inflation?
    Or for trading?

    Don’t know if you are familiar with a gentleman named Ferfal. He survived an economic collapse that tore through his country and wrote a book about it.

    He used gold necklaces and would clip a few links from them while trading for medications and other necessities.

    I would assume that being debt-free and having at least a small plot of land, in a suburban or somewhat rural place, with access to water and like-minded neighbors would be ideal.

    God bless you and your family while you continue to endure. Much respect to you!

    • Gold has never been worth nothing. Our business is fine jewelry and I’ll note that precious metals are typically untaxed in most states. Buy with cash and not a lot of questions are asked.

      I can’t necessarily say silver is a deal as it’s at $24/ oz or similar. It is stable as hell tho, and it’s a lot easier to hand over a couple pieces of silver vs expecting change for gold.

      Paper currency has a value all its own tho. The folks at your local 7-11 recognize it as money and being able to quickly exchange cash for whatever has a value all its own.

  • a very good reason to be as self sufficient as possible. do what you can now, get out of town and get out of debt. and be as grey as you can be.
    good luck all

  • 1. Control Justice mechanisms (courts, laws, self-defense) Insanity rules
    2. Control medical aspects Lessening coverage
    3. Control finance Cash discouraged. more buys less
    4. Control food production facilities burned often. farmers losing land,prices ^
    5. Control travel real ID to fly. prices are increasing, frequent cancelations, poorly maintained planes.

    Courts and prisons now hold and prosecute political prisoners while our laws and constitution mean less and less.

    Our political leaders do what they accuse the opposition of doing. They outright lie in accusations in news statements. We know it. but if you say so you’re are already in trouble.

    For many of us food is already harder to get. Weights reduce while prices increase. My supplemental insurance covers less and approvals for testing or treatments are getting harder to get.

    The more invisible and less noticed the better. I’m encouraged to find all the new fruit trees I set out last year are either putting out flower buds or green leaves. I have 125 strawberry plants to set out in a few weeks. Stored dormant in the fridge. My newest asparagus and berry vines must be watered soon but I’m seeing a few green leaves starting to come up. Nights are still freezing here. I have currents, gooseberries, and more here to put out this spring. I have little to buy things with so I’m concentrating on long-term edibles and medicinals. I’m also going to be looking for a quartet of rabbits to restart raising them for food, hides, and cold manure.

  • Is there a ring of familiarity? Yes, there is a ring of familiarity between warning signs in Venezuela and warning signs in the USA. One of many examples is how the State of California is on the same trajectory as Venezuela. Another example is the fiscal malfeasance of the “Do Nothing” U.S. Congress, where America is facing a “Day of Reckoning” with its out of control, debt-financed spending. Godspeed to All.

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