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Venezuela: A Real SHTF Situation

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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.

--- Quote ---Venezuela's middle class is dumpster diving for food
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---party loyalists control {food} distribution
--- End quote ---

And straight out of Atlas Shrugged...

--- Quote ---On 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."
--- End quote ---

Paper money is becoming worthless.

--- Quote ---Inflation in Venezuela is projected to increase 481% this year and by a staggering 1,642% next year.
--- End quote ---

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.
--- End quote ---
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:

--- Quote ---Amid 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.
--- End quote ---

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

--- Quote ---One 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.
--- End quote ---

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 ;-)



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