Editor’s Note: Today we have a special Monday Mondays post, written by J.G. Martinez D, who has experienced the collapse of the Venezuelan economy first hand. His post reveals some distressing aspects, but that is the reality of a total economic breakdown. This post originally appeared in The Organic Prepper.
This Is the Reality of the Venezuelan Collapse
Sometimes, even regular journalists, who are used to write about bad stuff as much as writing about good news, face nasty events that have to be documented, registered and broadcasted.
It´s my guess that writers develop, on time, a thick layer of skin to resist all the things they see and experience. I am not used to some of the gross reality checks that I have found as collateral damage of this collapse. After becoming a father, some kind of internal re-wiring changes in the brain structure. Or it should change. Our sensitivity to kids welfare, for those who (like me) never even believed that someday would responsible of some little lads.
This said, I just tripped a few days ago upon pictures of a dying baby. This is something really hard. It´s one of those things that really can´t be unseen. I believe in God because have studied enough sciences in my life to understand why there is no such thing as a dice game going down here. It seems to be all over the place. That incredible look in those eyes…I still remain deeply impressed. Having seen pictures of kids under those sad conditions all over the world, but far away enough to not being able to do nothing.
But that baby was in my own country. In my own state and even in the city where we were living. That baby died of malnourishment in a world where food should be available.
It is so deeply…disturbing…for lack of words. I can´t find words to explain these feelings in my own language, so you will have to excuse me if I can´t explain myself in English.
This is what it is like in Venezuela now.
Transportation has stopped.
I received some reports this week, about how the general strike of the transport companies and private transport owners have stopped their services. This entire last week has been rough: no transport means it is increasingly difficult to attend work. Perhaps you did not know this, but the buses have been out of service for almost one year.
People are using some cattle an vegetable trucks with makeshift restrainers and holders so the people can avoid falling. But even with this, a lot of dead people has resulted because of this improvised transport.
I have been told that the transport issue is big these days and some had to get over a cattle truck to be able to get home. This said I believe that a nice small motorcycle, quad, or trike with some spares and enough oil changes for a couple of years (or maybe 3) would be a great thing to have. Of course, this would be for local transportation only, in secondary roads and not highways unless life or death situations.
Remember I used my cruising motorcycle when my SUV engine went to meet the holy spirit, and I used it an entire year because I had the needed spares. Grocery shop, errands, school, rain or sun. Mostly burning sun. This vehicle should be very inconspicuous, and low profile (not like mine with a free exhaust that could be heard 2 kilometers away).
It should be very common on the roads, and without any noticeable mods. I would suggest even a recumbent trike or cart. If you don´t have money, makeshift one. It should not be that hard, and it would be pretty useful. For us, it would have been a great vehicle because riding a heavy bike while it’s raining with your kid in the back is stressful enough, and even more if you know medical attention is not going to be available as it was once.
Children are being abandoned.
I just read that over 100 babies aged 1-36 months have been abandoned all over the country. For USA standards maybe this amount seems low. But in a country with a capital city barely over 4 million people I believe this is extremely high, given that we have a strong family tradition and whenever a relative can´t sustain one of his offsprings, a single aunt or granny appears to take care of the child. I myself have received at home a couple of my nephews when they were having a harsh time for a few months. They could overcome those times, though.
What I mean, we don´t leave our kids behind. For this to happen with such small children, a real war-like collateral damage has to be happening. I am not exaggerating. This is happening. I am extremely mad because I see our health minister lying to the entire world about this. She defends the thugs in power, by saying there is no such thing as a humanitarian crisis while people are starving in the streets.
This is a situation that has is repeating itself. It happened in Cambodia. It is just an advance of a delinquent mafia disguised as a political party.
Now, please let me go back on track.
The hyperinflation continues
According to my last reports, the dollar is almost 1 million Bolivares, cash. (Note: Actual values may have changed since this article was written) Paypal and electronic currency is around 790-800K Bolivares. 1 kilogram is about 2 pounds, slightly over. Workers make the equivalent of $8 per month.
Here is a small market list:
Beef 6.500.000 Bs/kg. – $65
Poultry 3.000.000 Bs/kg – $30
Pork 3.000.000 Bs/kg – $30
Ham 3.000.000 Bs/kg – $30
Cheese(white) 2.200.000 Bs/kg – $22
Wheat flour 950.000 Bs/kg – $9.50
Butter (one pound) 750.000 – $7.50
Onions 450.000Bs/kg – $4.50
Tomato 500.000 Bs/kg – $5.00
Potatoes 650.00 Bs/kg – $6.50
Eggplant 220.000 Bs/kg – $2.20
Carrots 300.000 Bs/kg – $3.00
This is something never seen. The monthly inflationary rate is unknown. There is no way the government officially delivers some numbers. There is no way to measure it because the prices all over the country seems to be subject to an entire underground economy.
Some products are getting out of some small, very low profile farms in very small amounts, inside passenger cars, in a couple of coolers in the trunk. If there is any road control, the car driver has even the receipt of the staples. They usually travel with kids and wife in the car so they won´t be stopped. This has worked for those whom I suggested this as a means of getting their production out to the market, and there is an entire underground economy growing.
As usual, lots of foreigners have come to take advantage of the situation. Chinese supermarkets owners are importing GARLIC from China. Can you believe it? We have a lot of fertile land 45 minutes away from my city, and these thugs prefer importing vegetables from China, with dollars “assigned” (I have come to hate that word) for some government functionary after getting paid a nice bribe (in dollars, of course). I told this to the owner, and in his supposedly limited Spanish (they understand more than they pretend to) he tried to explain that the farmers are charging too much money for their products. Nothing else than bull waste. I know they use the dollars that the government transfers them for 10 tons of garlic, so to speak, bring just one ton (overpricing the bill) and the remaining is kept in their accounts.
That is why we are so screwed. They pay the dollar at 10 Bolivares per dollar. Sell them later in the black market at 1.000.000 bolivares. See my point?. The same has been done year after year under the currency exchange until it has drained the entire country. This is one of the reasons this guys don´t want to let loose the country. They have tons of properties bought under this scheme in the name of third parties so they don´t get linked to illegal activities. But a proper investigation would take down that giant cards castle.
The turmoil is spreading
About the social turmoil, it seems to be spreading, not so slowly, but it is enough to take a look and receive some reports of like-minded fellow “preppers” (perhaps a little bit primitive compared with our USA friends but they have been dealing with some hard stuff and they are on their feet still) all over the country. This time it is more than that, as the “opposition” party is no longer seen as a real opposition but instead as a collaborationist organization. Things are going to get funny, and I mean crazy funny.
A cattle farmer was shot in the middle of the chest two weeks ago and a media news campaign followed to make him appear like a foreign paramilitary supporter by one guy now “nominated” to be the “defense” minister. Go figure. In the capital, there was a lot of Special Forces members that have been imprisoned for treason and conspiration. This is no joke. Those are serious words, especially these days, and with that band of thugs torturing people looking for information.
The “good” part is, the testimony of those who are being tortured is going to be key in the coming trials. I just did some research about the Convention on Torture treaty that was ratified in 1994, and it was really enlightening. These guys don´t know really what they are doing, and desperation is always a bad advisor.
The situation is slowly arriving at a non-return point. The troops are starting to feel more and more the effect of the scarcity. Their rations are smaller every week and this is reaching even in the social networks (a great tool for the rebels). Just as a side note, there is even a colonel imprisoned these last few days (and a general of the very own official party!! His name is Marcos Rodriguez Torres, one of the creators of the repressive institution of intelligence that I won´t name here). You can imagine the potential scenario. Thank God our house there is being inhabited by my dad and a good friends of ours…who happens to be a Scout and a prepper too.
This is a brief report of the current situation.
It is worse every day.
I have been emotionally affected because of the effect in my city, where my child was born and where I was so happy, has been devastating to the most vulnerable populations.
I have seen serious reports with dying babies, and it has been horrendous. I have seen pictures of my friends of the oil company, and they have lost lots of weight.
Thanks for your time, and for your understanding.
I ask God to bless all of us, that this nightmare ends soon, and we can start over again the rebuilding of our country as an immense brotherhood, including you, our brothers and sister from America.
About the Author: J.G. Martinez D
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