Quite a lot has been written about events that led to the current situation in Venezuela. I understand that the aftermath of the cold war that took our country to its knees can be confusing for those who have never had the opportunity to live in any place in South America, and the media bias could be a distracting agent to understand what it´s all about. I write just about facts, and about what we have experienced, or very close people have experienced. The first part of this article is for those who need a deeper insight into the reasons, and not so much about how to deal with the consequences of the crisis.
I started to ask myself an entire series of questions. One of them was How is it possible that our economy is worse than one in a country in war? And the answer I could deduct is, that we are victims of a war. Not so cold, but a war, no doubt.
Venezuela was forced out of the oil market.
Russians have positioned themselves as USA crude oil providers, in a formidable twist that left me stopped right on the tracks. I´m not exaggerating: I felt like a cold water shower. It was the trigger that suddenly made me understand EVERYTHING. The Ukraine issue, all that chit-chat back and forth between Donald and Vladimir…I saw the light, so to speak.
I don´t know if it is just me, or if anyone else sees the big picture. Something like this: we were producing in 1990s decade 2.6 MMBB. There were plans to raise that production to 3 Million. This would be to provide the increasing demand of the global economy. For the OPEC countries, it was not bad. Everyone had a portion, a share, to reach, and fixed prices allowed a solid budgeting operation. But (and that is a big “but”) Russia was NOT part of this organization. They were invited and always refused. The reasons (the real ones) are not clear to me, and maybe never will be, with my limited access to knowledge. The truth is, that without their production subject to shares, they could position their product without restrictions. Pricing was lower than the market, I guess. It´s not as relevant for this analysis. What IS relevant is that they needed to incorporate themselves in a market. Why they needed to occupy shares (OUR shares) belonging to the OPEC…well, that is something really deep, and I don´t feel like getting into that right now. Time will tell. But I do know how evil Russian governments can be. After all, there is the Ukraine issue. Backed up by the USA, and in the very frontier of Russia. So they decided to play the same card and screwed MY HOMELAND in the process. Yes, I have kind of a grudge. Have enough reasons for.
What I see is a forced displacement of Venezuela from the markets we used to take for granted since our exports started. Cuba, being an ally of Russia even though the Soviet state collapsed, has never been able to pull their own weight because of the ineptitude of their rulers, corrupted and miserable as they are. Therefore, they decided to infiltrate Venezuela, once the army was fractured, brainwashed, or blatantly corrupted as well, and deviate our wealth to their crappy island to avoid starvation, social uprisings, and the well-deserved OBLIVION they are facing as I write this. It´s inevitable. They destroyed my country with an underground war. They kidnapped officers, tortured them and threatened their families, including women, elder, and kids. Killed people in the massive demonstrations. I´m not making this up. President Guaido has spoken about this openly again and again. It had the effect of a WAR, with millions of displaced people, including this writer. So, it can be considered a war. I don´t know what generation it can be considered, but it´s an insidious war, with an enemy disguised as a friend, as someone who came supposedly to heal, to teach, and suddenly we find out that 27 members of our Special Forces were in a political prison, called El Helicoide. These guys were trained in the USA by the way. Go figure.
People in South America have had to bug out, and most were not prepared.
This war occasioned one of the largest movements of people in the last 50 years in South America. It´s heartbreaking for me to see pictures of people bugging out (and I mean, this is the REAL DEAL of bugging out´s history) totally unprepared: soda bottles instead of proper canteens. Fabric backpacks that break the 5th day of hiking and walking, because of overloading and use. Tennis shoes that last a few dozens of kilometers and have to be repaired in some way, with wire, nylon thread, duct tape (something impossible to buy in Venezuela because it is imported and highly priced), or some other materials before falling apart. One of the most impressive pictures was a father cuddling his daughter protecting her in a freezing blizzard, in the middle of the mountains between Colombia and Ecuador, dressed just with a T-shirt, and the girl well protected against the bad weather. Young women have been kidnapped, raped and murdered in the roadways. Families have died in the bus crashes. It´s a mess that is quite difficult to imagine. Just by being a witness, as I am, one can understand how deep the effects of the Russia grip was. I am sure that things are going to be much better, including Maduro being wrapped in gift paper and sent to his final destination, whatever this could be…because the agreement already has been signed, and he´s no longer needed. Finally, USA has a reliable (supposedly) oil provider. Until we recover our production and rebuild our army with real freedom and democratic values. Decades, of course. Meanwhile, Russia will have provided the needed means, and in 20 more years, oil may not be the main energy source, as fast as the technological advances are going. This crisis is compared only with the Mediterranean one. No wonder, Greece government was openly identified as well as a “leftist” one. They destroyed the economy of the country, via subsidized society. There was no way to make this an on-going policy, sustainable on time.
Anything edible is currency!
This said I will give some details about the state of the general economy in the streets.
Let´s start with a small price list:
Eggs 24.000 Bs or 3.90$
Cornmeal around 10.000 Bs 1.9$ (flour for arepas)
White hard cheese 24.000 Bs or 3.90$
Beef Meat 28.000 Bs or 4.75$ per kilo.
Coffee 22.000 Bs or 3.50$
Rice 9.000 Bs or 1.50$
Vegetable oil 35.000 Bs or 5.90$
Sugar 6.000 Bs or 0.9$
Honey 7$ per kilo
I know you´re quite interested in that sort of thing too. To begin with, the national currency is almost worthless. There is a lot of strong currency, dollars, and euros in circulation, as it was to be expected. Food prices are low, but for those who work with a fixed income, forget about it. Minimum wage is a joke. All the people I have talked with, or chat with, have some sort of side business to make the ends meet. I have talked about this in other articles, but it´s quite interesting to see how this trend has been gaining specific weight as the crisis deepens. Of course, bartering is now one of the most common way of trade. In the beginning, say 2015-16 or so it was present to some degree; but in these last few months with the absolute disaster of the monetary system, it became a common practice. There are exchange platforms being used, as well, for those with most technical skills. Of course, this depends on their access to power and internet.
Bartering has become a way of life.
So, an important note here. Bartering becomes, for those systems that tank into a deep collapse and no other way of monetary exchange exists, as in rural towns, the main way of trading. Anything has value if someone needs it. I have seen farmers giving away tons of junk (for them) and an old electrician I know to rebuild it and resale it, making 6 months’ worth of food on the table
I believe this is important, too: scarcity seems to be worse in some places than in other ones. The causes of these differences are not entirely clear to me. It could be the general political trend those communities exhibit, that impacts directly in the few problems they generate, low turmoil incidents, and as a reward, they receive some more fuel and less rationing hours of electricity.
People in smaller towns living in houses with large gardens (something kind of common, an heritage from the Spaniard culture) has usually optimized their usage, and have now different fruit trees, some corn, the always welcome tapioca or yucca (different to the kind you know there), some makeshift rabbit or poultry cages. This has been sort of common, but of course, in the last 3 years has become widespread. Mainstream, so to speak. 4 papayas can be exchanged by a quarter of a kilo of sugar. 1 dozen eggs remaining of your production will buy one kilo of cheese or one kilo of corn meal/flour for arepas. You get the idea.
And this is how are things going there now. We came back on time about…maybe 80 years or so, in terms of a modern economy. I am going to collect some information with one of my relatives who works in a small hospital, about the sanitary conditions and the medical supplies accessibility.
I want to give special thanks to those who have supported this effort to communicate and offer useful advice via the sponsoring and patronizing; it has allowed me to keep connected and dedicating time and resources to this activity. Things have not been easy, and I just hope that whatever has to occur happens soon, and come back to rebuild my homeland.
Once this happens, I will keep documenting the homestead finishing with videos and articles!
Thanks for your comments!
Stay tuned 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. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151
Jose there are a lot of bad actors in the 6+ years Venezuela nightmare. For Russia to gain market share as your educated people left the Venezuelan Oil Production because of State Corruption is not causative, just opportunity.
I read your excellent posts because they are foretelling what will be happening in the USA very soon. Thus I gain from your experience how to prepare for the same events. Maybe different names involved but overall same results as Socialism destroys my beloved country.
Debt and Corruption has always destroyed Empires. The invading barbarians did not destroy Rome they merely took the opportunity to pick over the dying carcass.
Friends, Jose has given us a foretaste of our future please prepare accordingly.
Truly appreciate your kind words. That international crime organization self called “left” is just a gang against freedom and democracy.
Maybe the USA is not paradise, but working hard you can live a decent life, and with a decent planning, to get a quiet and peaceful retirement. I have been studying and working since I was 16 and can´t say I am going to retire anytime soon.
Stay tuned. There is a lot more to come.
Be prepared, and start NOW to produce your own food – as much as you can. Stockpile basics NOW while they are available/affordable.
Not saying anything you don’t already know, but there is an added urgency given the economy, the weather effecting crops and the political climate. Things are coming to a head.
Dear Miss Kitty,
And that stuff that you can´t stockpile, learn HOW TO PRODUCE IT. The moment is now. Sustainability is the main concept here. Stockpiling only will last for a while, or until someone finds out you have a stash. Trust me, if things get deep enough in the crapper, they will find out and you could have consequences. I have some advice regarding this but won´t make it public, because it would be much more harmful, rather than not saying it.
Is it just my imagination, or do some of those food seem fairly decent? $7.00 for a kilo (2.2 lbs) of honey. My local grocery store has a 32 oz. (2 lbs) jar of orange blossom honey for $13.29. $4.75 for a kilo of beef? My grocery store has Steakhouse Elite Ground Beef for $8.89 a pound. That’s $19.56 a kilo. $13.00 a kilo if you buy the cheap stuff. There’s no way to compare the other items because there is no volume listed. Even when you consider the scarcity factor, those prices don’t seem too bad in comparison. Or maybe there is some confusion on the exchange rate.
I think the issue is that they’d be okay prices for us with our salaries, but they make far less money there. They make the equivalent of $8 a MONTH according to this article. https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2018/01/04/new-monthly-minimum-wage-in-venezuela-barely-enough-to-buy-daily-cup-of-coffee/
For the USA or Europe standards maybe it´s fairly decent.
The exchange rate is over 6,000 Bolivares per dollar now.
My salary in the oil industry as an engineer, had I stayed there, would be like 10$ or less monthly. There´s no possible comparison.
I think you don’t go back far enough in your analysis of the couses of Venezuela’s debacle Jose… The actual misery for Venezuela starts when Hugo Chavez became elected president of Venezuela. For some God forsaken reason, Venezuelans chose to vote for Hugo Chavez in 1998 and elected him president of Venezuela, in spite of the fact he had attempted a coup-de-etat in 1992 against a democratically elected president, served time in jail for it, and his allies for his presidential run were the Communists and Socialist parties.
What did you guys expect?
If Chavez’ allies in the presidential election, and his history of anti-constitutional doing were not enough of a warning for Venezuelans, the moment Chavez travelled to Havana and started cuddling with Fidel Castro should have sent an S.O.S. to Venezuelans but, for some reason, it didn’t.
I had never been to Venezuela, but I remember telling a Venezuelan engineer that worked with me at the time (real nice guy) – “you guys are screwed”. He kept telling me how – “oh no!, we (Venezuelans) are going to take care of this at the ballot box. That was 15 years ago.
Venezuela is a textbook example of what happens when Neomarxists rise to power. It doesn’t matter if it is through ballots or bullets, the fact is that when they do rise to power they corrupt and destroy all institutions, change all the rules, and make it nearly impossible to remove them from power unless there’s a foreign invasion. That simple…
I am doing a personal research that goes much further away than 20 years ago. It started when I wasn´t even born.
These last few months, two former high rank officers, Carlos Peñaloza and Mario Ivan Carratu Molina have been offering their testimony in recorded interviews about the FACTS that plagued the venezuelan political world since the 50s and even earlier. Perhaps I will dedicate some of my videos to translate and explain what these former democratic, constitutional members of our army say.
For the communist world, our homeland had been a target for decades. Too bad I found out that until recently.
Or maybe just because of that I am still alive and kicking.
Hugo was just a mole, a trojan horse. I wonder why he got sick so bad and so fast, after he mentioned in public his refusal to exploit the minerals in the mine Arc or “Arco Minero” en Guayana. There was some level of scarcity; I remember buying long term milk in packages of 12 for my kiddo who was only 2 or 3. Of course, I kept usually 6 or 7 packages at home just in case. These was increasingly difficult to find, until it disappeared to be sold only to a few. There was no rationing, but food hoarding has been used commonly in Venezuela since ancient times: it is used as a political weapon against the ruling party. They say “the government of this guy is crappy! there is no food, no milk, no butter, yada yada yada”. Of course this is not something that you´re going to read in some place. My parents told me that I was a baby and they did that already. Now it´s quite different. The entire food production chain is in some instances under military control. We all know what that implies.
But the rationing started immediately after the whale took the chair; and now has been discovered a HUGE scheme of money laundry, overpricing, fake imports, and perhaps even drug money laundering in the Maduro´s business. This is all over the place I am no inventing this.
On the other hand, I remember some of my high school teachers talking about how had “being treated Cuba” by the USA with the “ruthless blockage for decades”…but did not explain the real reasons of the blockage, nor that Cuba had threatened with unleashing a nuclear war over USA civilian population. There is a lot to talk about this; I have focused in reporting how people deals with their reality, and it´s somehow disappointing to learn that most of them just adapt, resist and stop fighting. If there is no toothpaste they just brush without it. If there´s no soap, using industrial laundry soap is normal, and so on.
In the history taught to us in high school, there is NO mention about the shameful Cuban invasion to Venezuela in 1967, in the Machurucuto bay. http://elestimulo.com/climax/desembarco-de-machurucuto-una-invasion-cubana-fallida/
4 cuban agents and 8 Venezuelans were going to settle down a beach head for the rest of the troopers.
Our history books used in the schools say NOTHING about this. Go figure.
Venezuela got used to easy money that wasn’t theirs. Didn’t matter whose it was, they’d take it. And outside entities (corporations or governments, etc) that thought they were getting a deal played the game also, even knowing the risks.
So when you nationalize everything but have no plan for after you steal from outsiders… This game gets bad. No one wants to be hosed twice so the second time they look for leverage and often make it punitive.
Stupid people were playing stupid games and won stupid prizes. It’s just too bad it is the average folk who just want to live their lives that keep paying the price for the stupid prizes.
I don´t think we had a chance. Despite many educated and literate people got caught in the neocommunist deceipt, the castro bros had decided (of course backed by russians) to take over the country. If you see what happened in Hungary in the 50s, and the role of russians you will understand what happened in Venezuela.
A journalist who was recently in Venezuela tells how it is:
I’m not sure he’s “telling it like it is.” Why would you trust the media over a Venezuelan?
I apologize for this, but RT is a RUSSIAN website, supported by the Rusky government, which is deeply involved in our apocalypse. If you don´t believe me, feel free to research who is more than pleased in supplying the oil quota we had to stop producing because of the destruction of our economy by castrists invaders. That is NOT a reliable source. I just could stand 30 seconds of the video, because listening to the “reporter” talking about the very same CRAP that Chavez instilled us for years, while my country was looted and ransacked without our knowledge, behind the table, was too much. It was the SAME speech: multipolar world, yadda yadda. Forget about that guy telling !as it is”. I had to leave my country because my salary, as an PDVSA engineer was not enough to feed my family. I had to go in my bicycle one entire year to my work, because my SUV gave itself to the Spirit. And using my motorcycle was too dangerous (lots of armed robbers and besides, old tires got hard, and made a real hazard to ride in the rain…and of course, no money for new tires nor repairs)
That peewee never had to walk 2 kms with 14 kilos of food in a backpack, coming from the supermarket, looking over his shoulder to see if someone was chasing him.
Trust me, he is NOT telling it like it is. He is telling it like RUSSIA wants you to believe.