Bartering To Eat: How People On The Streets Of Venezuela Are Surviving
Venezuela truly has become a nightmare come to life. What has taken place over the last three years has been nothing short of a total destabilization of the entire country. The water system, the roads, the electrical grid, the hospital, and especially the food distribution system. Venezuelans became so desperate that they were forced to scrounge for food in dumpsters and hunt down cats and dogs. Crime became rampant as well, and the capital city of Caracas now has the highest murder rate in the world. Mobs of vigilantes are frequently seen picking up the slack of the corrupt police; that is, when they’re not busy looting grocery stores. Venezuela is practically a war zone now.
Here’s a breakdown of the last three years for Venezuela:
- In 2013 a major oil crash hurt the Venezuela economy the most and prompted the butterfly effect.
- In 2015 – The Venezuelan currency, the bolivar, was worth less than a penny, prompting a monetary breakdown of the banking industry.
- March of 2015 – The food crisis begins. The government can’t pay to import basic food items like milk, flour and eggs, leaving many supermarkets with empty shelves. Venezuelans were doing everything they could to stockpile food in order to insulate themselves from the coming economic and monetary implosion.
- January 2016 – New power struggles emerged as many Venezuelans had enough of Maduro. In January, the opposition party, Democratic Unity, took 109 seats in Congress, far more than the 55 seats Maduro’s socialist party won. During this time, the government declares 60-day economic emergency.
- 2016 February – President Maduro announces measures aimed at fighting economic crisis, including currency devaluation and first petrol price rise in 20 years.
- 2016 April – Government imposes two-day week for public sector workers in bid to overcome serious energy crisis after severe drought dramatically reduces water levels in the country’s main hydroelectric dam.
- May 2016 – Venezuela considers defaulting on foreign debt in order to negotiate more favorable terms.
- 2016 September – Hundreds of thousands of people take part in a protest in Caracas calling for the removal of President Maduro, blaming him for the economic crisis and accusing the electoral commission of delaying a referendum which could shorten him term in office.
Surviving the Streets of Venezuela
As you can see, the country of Venezuela is experiencing a slow, agonizing death and the citizens of this once prominent country are the one’s who are suffering. The country was once considered an oil giant and jobs at the state-run oil company PDVSA were coveted for above average salaries, generous benefits and cheap credit that brought home ownership and vacationing abroad within reach for many workers. Now, the employees and citizens alike are pawning goods, maxing out credit cards, taking side jobs, and even selling PDVSA uniforms to buy food, according to Reuters’ interviews with two dozen workers, family members, and union leaders.
“Every day a PDVSA worker comes to sell his overall,” said Elmer, a hawker at the biggest market in the oil city of Maracaibo, as shoppers eyed pricey rice and flour imported from neighboring Colombia.
“They also sell boots, trousers, gloves and masks.”
“Sometimes we let the kids sleep in until noon to save on breakfast,” said a maintenance worker who works on the shores of Maracaibo Lake, Venezuela’s traditional oil-producing area near the Colombian border. He said he has lost five kilos (11 lb) this year because of scrimping on food.
How to Survive an Economic Collapse
Make no mistake, to survive hyperinflation and economic collapse you need to think in terms of survival. You need to have the right skills.
You need to plan ahead. When you start seeing signs at the beginning. Many Venezuelans fled the country the moment the saw something was awry. As well, you need the kind of skills that will make you money no matter how bad things get. Jobs such as ones found in the medical field, farming, private security, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, or repairmen of any kind; as well as, teachers and tutors, especially if they can impart money-making skills.
- Get prepared. At the very least, buy food, products, and supplies in bulk to help you prepare for price inflation. If you have the means to do so, invest in 30-60 days worth of supplies so that you have everything you need. Having these on hand will help you if times become more difficult. You can use this free online series to begin creating a personal step-by-step preparedness plan for your family; or, buy the best-selling book, The Prepper’s Blueprint to use as a reference in your preparations. As well, if you can manage, get out of debt, organize your finances and find ways to free up some of your income for an emergency fund to help you create a personal safety net.
- Preserve wealth. Choose hard assets (dry goods, precious metals, land, livestock, skills, etc.) for long-term investments so they will hold their intrinsic value over time. Holding these types of investments will insulate you from inflation and other economic issues. Further, tying your money up in assets will help you avoid the inflating prices of food sources in the future, thus furthering your cause of self-reliant living.
- Invest in food. One thing analysts and financial pundits agree on is that, in general, commodities will continue to rise. When others are buying foods at inflated prices, you will be consuming your investment when it was purchased at a lower price. Using a combination of shelf stable foods, you can create a well-rounded food supply to depend on when an emergency arises. Further, these foods last a lifetime and would make sound investments for future planning. Ideally, you want to store shelf-stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that are multi-dynamic and serve many purposes. Dry goods like rice, wheat, beans, salt, honey, and dry milk will provide you with an investment that will grow in value as prices rise, and also offer you peace of mind in case the economy further degrades. This food storage calculator can show you how much food should you need to store. As well, read Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First for more ideas.
- Learn how to grow your own food. In a homestead environment, a person wants the land to work for them as much as possible. Invest in fruit trees, seeds, and garden supplies. If you really want these peak foods, find a way to grow them yourself. Further, if you live in a rural area, consider investing in trees and bushes that will lure wild game. The trees and bushes can provide you with added sustenance and help you stock meat in your freezer. Here is a how-to guide for creating a garden quickly.
- Raise your own food. Rather than paying hard-earned money at the store for eggs, poultry and dairy—raise them yourself. Chickens are very easy to care for and can provide you with meat and eggs throughout the year. Additionally, you can find substitutions for these peak foods with a little research and ingenuity. For example, rabbits would be a suitable protein replacement and can even be raised in more urban areas. Similar to chickens, they don’t require much care and with some effort can be fed from the homestead’s garden or you can grow fodder. They are also great breeders and will provide you with ample amounts of meat. These are the 10 best meat rabbit breeds. As well, for the modest price of purchasing a fishing license, you can stock your freezer with fresh-caught fish.
- It all adds up. Again, do what you can to pay off debts ahead of time and work to restructure your outgoing funds to lower your expenses as much as possible. Debt only enslaves you further, and finding ways to detach from the system will break those shackles. As well, look into finding additional income streams. The more income you can set aside, the better off you will be. That way, if your main income dries up, you have a fall back income and won’t have to go into default.
Be prepared to lose most of the money you’ve spent your whole life saving, because even before the collapse occurs, the government will likely have laws in place that will prevent you from taking money out of the country. However, that may be a small price to pay in exchange for not living in hell hole where you have to eat trash to survive.
The people of Venezuela are in a survival situation. The key to them surviving is dependent of them. Those who took heed and planned early will have better success at surviving. As well, being able to change to the current environments you find yourself in and being able to cut your losses in order to survive your present reality will play a role in how one survives these economic death throes. You’ll pat yourself on the back when your homeland collapses, because it is always better to be a poor man in a rich country, than a dead man in a poor country.