Venezuela: A Real SHTF Situation

Started by cockpitbob, June 10, 2016, 10:47:20 pm

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June 10, 2016, 10:47:20 pm Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 10:53:19 pm by cockpitbob
If you haven't been paying attention to Venezuela, you need to.

We are seeing a real-world example of what can happen to a developed country. They are having a genuine mid-level SHTF situation: food, water and power shortages. Astronomical %500 inflation (paper money is becoming worthless). The .gov has basically declared martial law.

Anyone that considers themselves a prepper should be watching what happens in Venezuela very carefully. What's happening there is a prime example of what we should be prepping for. And we need to watch what the subjects people do and learn what works and what doesn't.

This may be the best "educational opportunity" we get on this topic.

Ideally, this thread won't fill with comments about what the .gov did wrong and how to fix it, but rather with observations on what's happening to the people down there, how it's affecting them, what they are doing and if it's working.  And of course, how we should prepare in the unlikely event something similar happens here.

QuoteVenezuela's middle class is dumpster diving for food

Quoteparty loyalists control {food} distribution

And straight out of Atlas Shrugged...
QuoteOn Saturday, he threatened to take over idle factories and jail their owners following a decree granting him expanded powers to act in the face of a deepening economic crisis.

Maduro said factory owners were going to "sabotage" the country by shutting down and he ordered "all actions to recover the production apparatus, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie."

Paper money is becoming worthless.
QuoteInflation in Venezuela is projected to increase 481% this year and by a staggering 1,642% next year.


June 10, 2016, 11:22:21 pm #1 Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 11:25:27 pm by cockpitbob
OK, I'll start.  Here are my initial thoughts and reactions:

*  Preppers with 3 weeks of food and 30 years worth of arms and ammo have it backwards.

*  If it gets bad enough, there will be hunger.  When that happens the .gov will come for your 2 year stash of food and re-distribute it for the common good.  From what we are seeing, most may go to "party loyalists".  The fewer people that know what you have the better.

*  If you do have adequate provisions in your secret stash, find a way to make it look to your neighbors like you don't.  What are you going to do with all those empty chili cans?  Also, you probably wanted to lose 20lbs anyway.

*  Water:  as of today most Venezuelans have enough safe drinking water.  That's not projected to last.  I live in a fairly wet climate so all I need is ways to filter/boil/treat water.  At 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, a gallon of Clorox will treat 3,000 gallons of water.

*  With inadequate food, fuel and electricity, medical help won't exist (as we know it).  Stock up on enough fish and bird antibiotics to take care of every guppy in your tank for a few years.  They keep a long time in the back of the fridge.

*  Fortunately none of my guppies need serious meds for blood pressure or diabetes.  That's comforting because you can't get them at the online pet stores and I'm not sure where else one could get a decent sized stash.

*  I'm trying to figure how big a role personal communications is playing in Venezuela.  I think I want a few trusted friends between 50 and 500 miles away with NVIS capability so we can compare notes.  One of us will probably want to re-locate to a better place, and with radios we may know where 'better' is.

* Paper maps and compasses.  I am disturbingly dependent on my GPS.

Crap, this is depressing to think about.


Quote from: cockpitbob on June 10, 2016, 11:22:21 pm
*  Water:  as of today most Venezuelans have enough safe drinking water.

Yes, but... one of the causes of their problems is a severe drought which has hammered agriculture and almost shut down their hydro-electric production.  Their main hydro reservoir is so empty that a few weeks ago Maduro ordered government employees to work only two days a week so they could turn off electricity to government buildings.  I doubt employees are receiving full pay while on "vacation".  No electricity means no commercial food processing.

No rain = no hydro-electric (which I benefit from up here in the PNW), no farming, no garden...

From a Stratfor report 11 May 2016:

QuoteAmid shortages, reports of riots over food in Venezuela have become more frequent in recent months. As Venezuela's economy continues to deteriorate and its people struggle to deal with reduced access to increasingly expensive food, looting at distribution centers and markets could spiral out of control, adding pressure to force President Nicolas Maduro from office.

On May 11, a mob far outnumbering the security forces standing guard forced its way into a distribution warehouse in Maracay, less than 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Caracas, and carried off food. The fact that the crowd defied armed guards reveals the magnitude of the situation in Venezuela, where the food, water and electricity shortages that have plagued its populace for years have worsened.

Note the location of the riot:  50 miles from the capital city and in an agricultural area.  This is what Wikipedia says about Maracay:

QuoteOne of the most important cities in Venezuela, Maracay is primarily an industrial and commercial center, the city produces paper, textiles chemicals, tobacco, cement, cattle, processed foods, soap, and perfumes.

The areas around Maracay are agricultural: sugarcane, tobacco, coffee and cocoa stand out as the main products. There are also cattle-herding and timber-cutting activities. Activity by the Venezuelan Military also adds a great deal to Maracay's economy.

If this is what it is like in an area where you would expect to find lots of resources, what is like in other places?


CPB, I've been following the destabilization in Venezuala, and it's hard to get a gauge on how widespread the crisis is. Although, with 80% of adults responding that they can't afford to eat 3 meals per day, I suppose that's significantly widespread.

This also means that 20% can afford to eat. People who can are traveling to neighboring Columbia to purchase goods to bring back and sell on the black market. Lesson #1, it's good to have things to barter.

Also, the citizens aren't able to own firearms. It's much easier to control a population when only the security forces are armed. Martial arts classes are popular. Lesson #2, prepare to defend yourselves.

Venezuela is a more or less homogeneous society, with basically the ruling class and everyone else, like most police states I suppose, including China. If the same sort of hardship fell on the US, it would rip the social fabric apart. In places where everyone looks the same, it's hard to tell the bad guys from the good. Racial violence will be a key characteristic of any social unrest in the US. Lesson #3, prepare to defend yourselves. 

A friend is trying out JT-9 digital mode, not useful for much besides making contacts given the brevity of the message, although it is weak signal propagation, so I suppose it would work under circumstances other modes don't. One of my friends contacts was in Venezuela, which was pretty cool. I think I've made a PSK contact in Venezuela before.

Venezuela has the same problem as other oil rich states, the people are dependent on the government, and when the government can't deliver, they rebel. There's been reports of EBT card problems this month in the US. It wouldn't take long for a rebellion to turn into full scale race war if government checks didn't go out for a couple of months. Then the reports we're reading about in VZ would be similar to what we would see in the US.


Venezuela has 70% of its population below poverty level right now. That is a country with vast oil reserves and a great potential for tourism. Take Chile, another South American country, this one with little resources but only 14 or 16% below poverty level.. And that's all I'm going to say for now ;-)



CPB, thanks for the tip about antibiotics. We have some but may need to stock up.

Gil, you probably have a pretty good perspective on the situation, ala, FUSA. I think we're more in danger of becoming a police stay, already are, than collapse, for a number of reasons. It's unlikely a civil war will actually occur, since the authorities are smart about not letting things get too explosive, just enough to justify expanding their state.

It's important to understand the threats, in order to plan for them.

The US and the West aren't going to make too many mistakes when it comes to increasing their global hegemony. Full scale war isn't likely, not with the availability of fighting proxy wars like Syria, Ukraine, or undermining popular governments like Guatemala, Venezuela. So, just more of the same old status quo, and a continuing gradual decline are the most likely scenario. There may be the odd financial crisis  caused by too much debt, but there will always be rescues, like in Brazil and Greece, since the status quo doesn't gain anything through anarchy. They will back both candidates or replace one they don't like.

Who are they? They are central bankers, with the BIS at the centre, controlled by a few old world banking families, around 400 individuals world wide. They are the "stock holders" of whom Boards of Trustees are beholden, running the global corporate apparatus.

Decentralization and self sufficiency are the key to avoiding their grasp. A belief in the truth of God's Word is also paramount in knowing basic right from wrong, otherwise, the Devil will gain a foothold.


June 12, 2016, 10:23:16 am #6 Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 10:24:52 am by gil
I'll go a little bit further here than I'd like for this forum, as far as politics and religion are concerned. The current global trend however is concerning and might warrant a comment.

I see it here in France too. The country is not the same one I left 22 years ago. The government has extended its reach, limiting citizen's rights one by one, slowly, like boiling a frog. A frog presumably won't jump off a pot if you raise heat slowly.. They are doing the same everywhere, pushing for globalism and socialism. Workers are milked like dairy cows. It's the new slavery where more than half the slaves have been brainwashed into voting for their own exploitation. Europe is just another way to get everyone in line with the program, adding European laws to existing country laws. None of those new laws are increasing freedom, on the contrary. Firearms laws here are going to get very restrictive very soon. You can't tax an armed population to the gills... Unfortunately I think it will work. It is working very well in Europe. Until economies collapse that is, like in Venezuela. Most likely, wars will erupt, civil or not. It can only get worse from here, and the question is, will we blow ourselves up beyond recovery?

Religion is not necessary to differentiate between right and wrong. For some people, it provides needed guidance, and that is fine in my book, but not everyone needs it. I am not religious myself, call me an agnostic, but I certainly know the difference and respect and defend freedom of religion, as long as they don't promote hate against one group or another, which unfortunately most religions do to some degree, some more or less than others. Of course you don't see Christians cutting innocent people's heads, killing children or beating up women for religious reasons. Many of my friends are Christians, a few Buddhists, it works for them, they are really nice people, great. Most of Europe is not religious and most Europeans are pacifists. Some of you guys will disagree, and no amount of arguing will change our opinions, so let's not focus on religion.

The problem is nevertheless a moral one on top of being economical. Stealing is wrong, no matter who does it and who benefits. That is the basic premise we should all start with. If you accept it, there can be no redistribution of honestly earned wealth. All we have in this life is our time being alive. We can decide to sell some of this time for wages. Those wages represent chunks of out lives and thus belong to us only. Simple enough, but I find it very difficult to explain to people who are so far indoctrinated that they can seemingly accept it while accepting the theft of the only thing of real value to them as well, without compensation, for no better reason than the enrichment of the slave masters, but presented as "the common good."

To come back to Venezuela, they are the most socialist South American country, while Chile is the most capitalist one. 70% against 14% of the population below poverty level says it all, no argument here. I could start a business in France... Like most potential entrepreneurs here, I have zero incentive to do so. I plan on getting another sailboat and finish what I started last December. I might even decide not to return to the rat race, even though I have been more or less watching from the side. I'd rather be poor than work for free while being allowed to keep a little money for myself. At least I'll have free time, my time!

If I succeed again at leaving the dock and take to the high seas, radio will be my only link to the outside world, at least while out of sight of land. When every Ampere counts and your battery bank is only recharged by small solar panels, efficiency and low current draw matters most. That is why I got the Weber MTR and ordered a KX2, for the low current and CW efficiency. Five Watts CW is like a hundred Watts voice. I really thought hard about the FT-817nd, but the 450mAh just didn't cut it. If only they had a successor with lower current draw, I would have bought one instead of having to spend a fortune on a KX2 and worry about how well it will fare in a salt water environment. I will need to use a Pelican case and watertight connectors.. I am also getting a PRC-320, which only draws 175mAh, but is pretty bulky, though you could drop it overboard, fish it back an hour later, rinse off the salt water and turn it right back on.. Also planned is an Iler20 kit to listen to 14300 at 35mAh current draw!

Right now I am also re-acquiring camping gear, starting with the same ICS single-person tent I lost with my boat, a SnugPack sleeping bag and a small Trangia alcohol stove kit. Next purchase will be a Wisport Raccoon backpack and a Thermarest pad. Camping is good practice for self sufficiency, at least to get rid of what you don't really need and identify what you really do. You can learn a lot from the Internet, but there is nothing like doing it yourself. I hope to camp as much as possible this summer and of course bring one or two radios with me. In the fall I should start building a boat.

When the SHTF I hope to be sipping a cocktail on a tropical beach somewhere. At least I ought to try, for myself.

I will stay far from Venezuela...



Gil, I respect and value your opinion, and as such will not "push" a "religious" agenda on your board. I'm thankful for the resource, and fellowship the board offers.

My point about a knowledge of the truth isn't so much about knowing right from wrong, it's about knowing who is the enemy.

There have been plenty of decent and good people in positions of authority to have effected change for the better, including the founding fathers of the USA, their efforts embodied in the US Constitution. The Bill of Rights, without which there wouldn't be a US Constitution, defends the liberty we enjoy in the US and shines as a beacon of freedom around the world. The US is unique in this regard. As Greece goes, so do we all, or Venezuela, the Ukraine, Syria or any of the other "vassal" state in the global conflict for hegemony, even China or Russia for that matter. In fact, as the US goes, so do we all. In this Orwellian world in which we live, there may or may not be any absolutes, but most people can generally agree on the basic differences between right and wrong, which should be neither relative, nor subjective. The US constitution is a good starting point.

John Maynard Keynes, whom everyone loves to vilify, had it right. Government should spend money during economic downturns, and contract during upturns. Governments around the world forget the second part of this theory. The correction of which will be the mother of all super cycles. The central banks have had quite a run with their fiat money, since the 18th century and leading up to the American Revolution. Crypto currency is the only viable alternative on the horizon. Precious metals are too susceptible to physical supply and demand. Crypto currency can't be controlled, and can be transmitted at the speed of light. It could spell the end of governments, which won't be able to collect a bounty on it. Hence, too, the war on cash.

We all want the same thing, to live at peace with our neighbors inasmuch as it is possible.

I wish you the best in your endeavors. Having grown up on the coast of North Carolina and visit often, I would like to own a sailboat one day. A 25' Catalina would be perfect for day sailing and fits on a trailer. I don't see myself bugging out on one, although they will get you out of dodge. One issue I see with them is defense.

I love to camp. Since we visit the coast quite often, the camping we do is usually in the Appalachian Mountains. My go box is ready to go, or rather, it will be once I resolve some sound card issues. Linux isn't the easiest OS to setup USB rig control and audio. The issue as I see it, is the same USB port is used for both. I'm not sure how to resolve it, but I have some resources I'm looking into. Once it's definitively resolved, I plan to post the information somewhere. For now, it's not a minor annoyance.

Not to hijack the thread, There's no question or doubt whose fingerprints are all over Venezuela. The vultures are only waiting to devour the carcass, the same as Mexico and all of Latin and South America. Otherwise, it's business as usual. Nothing to see here, move along. On the other hand, unless and until the Tea Party and Occupy Movement recognize they have a common enemy in the status quo of the American two party system, they're going to continue to get beat at the polls, as one side is continually played against the other. Yes, there is a shadow government. Rather than compromise with the GOP establishment, I would rather Trump choose Bernie Sanders as his running mate. Not only would it guarantee an election victory, but actually smooth things over with Congress, since Sanders can grease the skids. Then maybe, we would see some real change. Otherwise it will be 4 more years of an accelerated march toward globalism and one world government, and as the US goes, so do we all.

All the best to all, cheers!


Absolutely. It is a sad state of affairs. I feel more American in many ways than French. I'll be back some day, but my life just took a different direction. The US is indeed the last somewhat free country in the world. I sure hope it stays that way. The key might just be the education of younger generations, and that is our responsibility. We can't let those guys spread lies and brainwashing everyone into submission. I use social media a lot to raise necessary issues and I have lost "friends" over some. I try to inform, not argue. My voice is just a drop in the ocean, but I hope it will make a small difference. Most of us here are of the same opinions, that is why I thought breaking my own forum rule, or rather suggestion to avoid political and religious subjects hopefully will do no harm. Religion is a very personal subject, but political opinions in a way affects us all. I've had people ask me why I didn't want to talk to them anymore because of their political opinions, as if they were of no consequences, but they are, and I explained that to them.

The best we can do is inform and prepare, get more people to do the same. We should also make more efforts to contact each other on the air in case things do go wrong.



I think one of Bob's most important, and overlooked, ideas is NVIS. Those of us not taking to the high seas are going to want reports from the field; reliable reports, not what the gov't wants us to know. NVIS is on my list of things to do....right after getting another radio. When I still had my 897D, I never really tried it like I wanted to.
So long, and thanks for all the fish


For me, in an emergency, I am MOST interested with who happens within ONE tank of gas. (Which is WHY I wish that they sold more QRP rigs with 80 and 60 meters.  I heard a JA ham, vacationing on Pulau two nights ago - AMAZING - but with 7000 miles of ocean between us,  not even remotely useful for me.

73 de RadioRay  ..._  ._
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry


I agree, Ray. And you've made a good point about "one tank of gas", considering if things got bad enough, we'd be lucky to make it that far easily.
So long, and thanks for all the fish


So, I was doing a little reading about the food shortage in Venezuela.  The person the interviewer was talking to said you need to get out of the house, stand in the long lines and move about the city.  Mainly because word of mouth is the only way you learn who has food and where the other things you need exist.  This reinforces what several members here have been saying about having organized radio communications with a network of friends you can trust.  Ideally I think you would have a few trusted comms partners in town, in the same county, elsewhere in the state and several out of state.  When things get really bad, information is the most valuable commodity.


I'll second NVIS. I'd also want to hear news reported from other continents, though that could be accomplished by listening to AM broadcast radio. Listening to amateur operators on other continents would not help much since they get their news from the media. It might be interesting to hear their opinion of the situation, but that is of no practical immediate value.

NVIS works on 40m too, I experience it every day here, but my antenna is at an angle, so I don't get anyone at say 50-100 miles, more like 150-450 miles. That is during the day. Of course 80m would work better, I yet have to build a Balun for an 80m Windom. I have no 80m rig right now, but thanks to a good programming gig last month I have a PRC-320 and a KX2 on the way!

For local group coms, I am looking more and more into DMR. If it wasn't for the privacy afforded, I would not touch digital voice with a ten foot pole, but you can't deny the advantage. The TYT MD-390 looks pretty good..

One thing we might not always consider is that radio can be a moral booster, something to do not to dwell on the present situation and if not to receive actual physical help, at least some moral support.



This is all making me realize I need to make an 80meter antenna for portable QRP ops.  I have a KX1 but no wire long enough, or end fed coupler to do 80m.  I'm actually toying with the idea of just a loading coil to put in series with a 40meter end fed wire.  125' seems like too much wire to string from a tree while camping.

You make an excellent point about radio being a moral booster.  In survival and SHTF situations there are few things as important as keeping your head together and your moral up.  Talking with people in your general area (NVIS again) is a great way to help with that.