Where should your prepper’s retreat be located? This is not an issue that could be explained easily in one article. Or in a book, think. However, I will do my best.
What was my motivation to write about this? Because I was very concerned about what was going on (logically) and the situation of my parents. However, they seem to be coping well, with the scarce money I can send them. Their needs are not that much, and they have kept themselves healthy, with a diet that includes lots of tropical fruits like pineapples, papayas, watermelon, bananas and the vegetables available year around.
My mom loves cheese, and this is known in our area as being tasty…and greasy! The toll in your veins and heart after a life consuming it is usually pretty high, and the strokes rate is quite high there. Same for red meat. They have been lowering a lot their ingesting of both, and it seems to have been quite good for their overall health. After learning they were collecting a few spoons for the weekly consumption from the coffee plants in a neighbor’s empty plot, I was really much more satisfied. As there is no sugar, sweetening with honey has become a need. Even our traditional sugar cane juice, solidified and hard as a rock, similar to a large caramel, called “panela” was expensive and scarce before I left the country.
I realized that it is all about learning to live with less, to use wisely as much of the environment supply that Nature makes available for us, and a wise choice of location to take advantage of this.
What’s going on in the cities
As I am writing this, something sinister is cooking up there. Armed convicts are patrolling the streets. The doors of hell are open. However, in the capital city, Caracas, and in the poor barrios (and not so poor) of every major city there are gangs of armed, masked guys roaming the streets.
You won’t see this perhaps in YouTube or some dubious political trend such as Twitter (however there is a lot of on-site footage there, only in certain accounts) but it is happening, and it is getting worse. (Writer’s note: I started to write this a few weeks before the blackout.)
The desperation of the gang is increasing, and they are becoming more and more aggressive. This was to be expected. It is in their nature. To hold on to the power (whatever the concept they have of such word) by every means available…until they can’t do it any longer.
We waited too late.
Provided this worst case scenario (I’d rather prefer a pandemics, truly, instead of drugged, armed thugs in my front door) would happen, we took some containment actions. However, the scenario arrived too late, and the preps we had were not enough.
Bugging out with all of my gear would have been the less smart option…provided I could leave my job and come back later (very unlikely). The reason is simple. Every single item in any load we could have taken with us would have been “confiscated”. With or without property documents. This is a failed state, remember?
Because there is no rule of law, and nowhere to address your grievances either, you know?
Too risky, and too far away home. Perhaps a most logical choice would have been the mountains nearby our place…but building a bunker there, to go just the weekends was an open invitation for looting, and leaving our main home every single weekend was not an option neither, because monitoring thieves passing by could mark our home and break into.
It was not possible to make something concealed enough without the laborers and contractors opening their mouths and revealing the strange building so far away. Venezuelans are not exactly the most discreet people in the world. The only alternative would have been building something oneself, and for those of us who are challenged for that sort of stuff, it could result in a total disaster or risk of building failure.
For your potential retreat, location is key.
Given the recent events, with a nationwide power grid failure, and a catastrophic water supply system meltdown, added to a total communications blackout, I can say, with a proper amount of trust, location is key.
Those in the bigger cities, totally unprepared, paid the toll. Desperation, lack of medical attention for problems related to malnutrition and stress, personal safety diminished, all of this were and still are, the common denominator plaguing the people’s lives in the cities.
Being far away, using isolation as safety measures, could be safe enough just under the proper precautions, and banding with some other similar thinking families or groups, as neighbors.
I just confirmed with some close relatives that the location where my once so-called bug out place was not so severely punished by lack of pumping water. The water distribution system of the town nearby is gravity fed, people. The rural communities around have traditionally used rainwater collection tanks, having learned by years of irresponsible governments (way before Uncle Hugo, I have to acknowledge) that a water pipeline was not going to be installed anytime soon.
A note about water
Private water companies were almost non-existent because of the monopoly laws of the state over natural resources such as water. Basically, water belongs to everyone, and it was illegal for a company to take over it, even if you buy land with an underground stream. Companies just could charge the work of treating it, manage it, or bottled it or conduct it to the places where it would be needed. The needed permits to dig and install a water pipeline, though, are just the beginning of a long line of corruption. This was before Hugo, too.
One of the sources of the collapse of the actual water grid. And of course, the corruption and bribes behind the state controlling the water management facilities since their construction you could imagine what levels they reached and how long that line is.
In many places, the responsible team for the facility would shut down the treatment plant with any excuse, and they would receive bribes from the truck drivers, or owners of several tank trucks, to keep it like that for some time. Then the major would have to deviate “emergency” resources from the municipal (something like a county) funds to pay these trucks to deliver water to the communities.
This is a scheme that is not new at all. It has been there for decades. Those dumb enough to try to combat this, have been threatened…or worse.
Oh, and just add the military to the mix. Wonderful results.
You need a natural water source.
All of this has been described because the location of my retreat is near a natural water source. And it’s drinkable. No need to boil, just some gravity filtering as a precaution. My relatives did not need to fill their tanks there, because there is always a good reserve of filtered water at home, but if needed, they could have gone there.
It is far off the path, not many people go there.
The power is again operational in about half of the country.
The consumption of the region where my soon to be compound is located, is so low because there are no large industries, and the population density is so low too, that it won’t be a problem in the near future despite the nationwide failure. I say “soon to be” because now the joining of Venezuela to the NATO is almost a certain fact. This said we are going to need bunkers, just in case.
All major cities are suffering because of the high rate of per capita power (and water) consumption. It is clearly a collapse situation where those in power (politicians and legally or illegally armed forces) just take what they need, and the rest are left to rot in their own juices.
Of course, there is an entire setup of variables around the entire situation. This is nothing that can’t be fixed with a good amount of blood, sweat, and bullets. It is not the end of the world. Just the end of a terrible era for my country. Our preparations as a family were not enough for such terrible duration of the events that tore our country apart, and there was no way to prevent or foresee that.
What we expected was what happened.
Did we suspect that someday the colectivos would be roaming the streets, free and harming people? Yes, of course. They used to roam by the dozens whenever one of their thugs got shot, to drive him to the graveyard.
Did we suspect that food would be scarce and that power and water, soap and toothpaste would be a luxury item? Of course. We knew that the companies that once produced all kind of products had been seized systematically, in a fantasy of being “fighting against the evil empire”, only to make them unproductive so they could import everything and sell it in the black market with huge illegal, untraceable profits.
We knew that these thugs would not surrender and that they were going to kill one another after Chavez would die. They allowed violence to spread all over the country in levels that we never believed possible.
It could be possible to survive in a subdivision.
With a two stories house and a patio, we would have been incredibly much better prepared. In a tropical climate, 35 square meters can produce a LOT of food. Add some poultry for eggs, and you will have mayonnaise, and something to exchange for other items you need.
Being surrounded by several subdivision houses means that there was some degree of security. Constant rain in our area is another plus. Even in the dry season rains like there is no tomorrow. You should see the papayas in our front garden and the eggplants! Wonderful.
However, being in the middle of the city and close to some dubious barrios, an extremely low profile would have been a need. Sooner or later it was to be expected some kind of confrontation. I was not wrong: in our former city was the only place where someone shot back and killed a national guard. Go figure.
There are many variables
To summarize, there is an entire setup of variables that you have to address before selecting the location of your homestead. As the needs of everyone is different, the relative weight of such variables in our decision has to be addressed according to that.
Water, safety, accessibility, height over sea level, flooding tendency, hurricane belt, corn belt, rust belt, Bible belt, you need a matrix with all these variables in a row. As many as you believe is important. Make a spreadsheet with these in a horizontal line. In a vertical line, write the places you have selected. Based on your taste for every particular variable, assign to each place a number, from 1 to 100 perhaps or 1 to 10. Add this grading to the right end and you will have a totaling number useful for your selection purpose.
There is a method a little bit more complex to explain but will leave it for the seminars in the future, because it is definitely much better as it will give more weight to the variables such as “gun friendly state” or “cheap gas”, or “good weather year around”, and so on.
I hope now this article has been useful, and please leave your comments so I can keep improving my stuff in the future. I have some designs that could be a real success in the prepper’s market, indeed for some custom made, great quality devices. Unfortunately, haven’t been able to pass to the stage of a prototype.
Thanks for your much-needed support, and God bless us all, people.
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
It is a shame that the US has not to date invoked the Monroe Doctrine to eject foreign dictatorial governments from Venezuela. However, I applaud Mr.Martinez for sharing his family’s story with us. We pray that those remaining in country survive the anarchy and he is able to help them do so. thanks again.
Mike would you be ashamed to find out that our beloved country is part and parcel of the troubles of Venezuela? Most of the world is well aware of our use of cyberwarefare to damage their power system as to foster revolt and install “Our Man Guido”. How would OUR installing a foreign dictator who would “owe” us loyalty be acceptable under the Monroe Doctrine?
There are no “White Hats” running the world friend, simply various shades of grey and black ops. The reason I bring this up is what happens outside our country BY our Government is a “Training Aid” for how they can and will treat us soon enough.
I expect soon enough the criminals will become enforcers in America. If you doubt that ask yourself how many Antifa are in prison right now? Crickets eh? Yet their violent actions are well documented but catch and release is the current Political situation. Pay attention to Venezuela as it’s coming to a neighborhood near you soon enough.
Another excellent, well-thought-out article. Thank you.
The article was fairly thin on “lessons learned” and offered only cursory observations. In the case of Venezuela, having a year-round growing season certainly lessens some of the stress of a societal breakdown. Most of the US wouldn’t be so lucky.
Predators are opportunists that would prefer weak and compliant victims who pose no threat to the predator. The EU, including the UK, both have turned their native populations into sheep, then those same governments introduced the wolves through open immigration. Australia did as well, and now NZ follows by neutering their citizens over the act of a foreigner. Western countries seem to have developed a desire to destroy themselves in this fashion.
What I take from this article is what a mistake it was for the Venezuelan people to have allowed themselves to be disarmed. Push back need to have happened prior to and during the disarming effort. Once its done its too late. Citizens of the US need learn from this.
There is so little actual information in these articles I begin to wonder why he writes them.
Judge Holden, I suppose to glean the pertinent information, you need to be astute enough to see that his stories are reality checks. They are the truth about the slow collapse of a once-prosperous nation. They show you how your plans, no matter what they are, may prove insufficient. They demonstrate the corruption inherent in the collapse of any country.
Thank you for your submission. The tropical environment you describe is much different from the U.S.A.’s mainly urban environments. They say that today, the population is about 80%. Even in our rurals, our population is far more dependent on electricity to deliver water to the them. Just check out the ‘night sky lit’ map of how much electricity is used, compared to the country of Venezuela.
One advantage here though – the urban youth gangs are much less capable of going to the rurals to raid. I doubt if most of them have slept outside or camped and a night out in the dark would terrify them.
The main points I take from your description is natural water and plants makes a huge difference in living comfortably.
Best location? Not Venezuela! I have considered moving, due to the local school taxes going through the roof, now consuming almost 20% of my annual income. However, I am a half mile from the road, out of sight,even from the neighbors that share the drive at the end by the road. I have a natural spring here, and two wells, one modern and one old hand dug that provides great fresh water. I am protected on the back side by a state park. Lots of game here,too.
I will wait and see what happens in 2020.
U. S. meddling is the wrong move, and the “humanitarian aid” phase of the regime change operation was transparent.
And I’m sorry Caitlin, BUT, YES BUT, here is no defense for the arbitrary confiscation of inventory, or officials changing orivate store prices by force, or arming street gangs to be boss enforcers, or confiscating farms to be collectives. Nor is there for the automatic corruption that comes with so-called socialism.
Enforcers of what they call equality never always enforce inequality. Their kind. Various reports tell of the daughter of Chavez having four or five millions in assets.
The regime changes in D. C. think threats do it? Nyet. Too many generals and colonels not only have it too good, but they also have to calculate the odds. They can get in trouble if they don’t stick to Maduro.
Thank you for another great article and sharing your insights. God bless you and your family. Thank you Daisy for helping bring this info to us and helping us understand what could possibly happen here in the USA.
I seriously doubt it can someday happen there. There is an entire ocean of differences, and you have the tools and the previous history to defend your freedom. Warlords ruled Venezuela after Bolivar´s death, and they made our ancestors to fear the gunshots. One of the longest dictatorships is Juan Vicente Gomez government, a brutal tyranny that lasted two decades, I think, and this left deep wounds in the people´s psyche. Anyone found with a gun, was sent to prison because it could be a menace to the tyranny. Your experiences are quite different.