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Do you remember the days when a vacation to Venezuela was one of the best prizes you could win on The Price Is Right? If so, you may be surprised that such a thriving nation could be brought to its knees almost overnight. Sadly, if the wrong combination of events line up, even the greatest nation on Earth can be brought down, leading to utter chaos for its citizens.
By looking at the unraveling of Venezuela’s economy and government, we can see which events contributed to the collapse and heed the warnings they offer for our own nation. As preppers, this information can make it easier to clarify goals and make it easier to gauge how much time is left before a similar disaster occurs in the United States.
1. Economic Failure Can Be Hidden by Media Spin and Statistics
When it comes to profitable, tangible assets at the national level, few things can rival oil. Even though the price of oil has gone down, it remains the lifeblood of industry and consumer-based activities. Despite Venezuela having the largest oil reserve on Earth, Venezuela’s looming collapse was well hidden by media spin and statistics. Here are just a few things that contributed to the collapse (but were presented as economic benefits):
- When Hugo Chavez rose to power in Venezuela, he promised his policies would lift people out of poverty, spur consumer spending, and lead to greater and better-distributed wealth for everyone. As went the USSR and many other collapsed nations who took their socialist policies too far, so now goes Venezuela.
- It is not necessarily fair to say that money spent on the betterment of others is a bad thing. However, when that money is spent at the cost of building up vital infrastructure assets, it can spell disaster. In the case of Venezuela, oil refining and blending plants were sacrificed for the sake of socialist ideals.
Right now in the United States, we are given all kinds of false statistics (the number of people obtaining unemployment benefits is actually much lower than the number of people with no job). If you look carefully, you will find that just about every “positive” financial indicator used to promote socialism in our own nation has some kind of hidden factor that indicates economic failure.
The best thing you can do is go by your own cost of living and income levels. If you are not better off now than you were 7 years ago, and your neighbors and family are not better off, then you know the media and statistics aren’t quite right. That’s why you should take steps now to reduce your reliance on any basic items or services that can be rationed, controlled, or denied to you.
2. Global Factors can Cause Internal Economic Collapse
It is fair to say that if global oil prices had remained high, the yoke of pure socialism would not have triggered an economic collapse as quickly as it did. The collapse in oil prices revolved around events happening outside of Venezuela, which is why you should try to keep track of what is going on in the world. Watch the FOREX trades, commodities trades, and trends in global unrest. Since Africa and South America are both coming up quickly on the terrorism map, any number of things related to these third world countries could trigger a major collapse or hostile takeover right here in the United States.
3. Inflation is a Defacto Currency Devaluation
Do you remember the 1980’s, when you could buy a pound of ground beef for about $1.39 a pound? Despite all kinds of “increases” in food production, the average cost of cheap meat these days is around $4.25 per pound. Even though we haven’t had a bank holiday in the last 40 years, every dollar in your pocket is only worth one quarter of what it was before. In Venezuela, the currency value has dropped over 700%.
If your money is buying less, don’t fall for the media hype that you need a higher wage (of which approximately one third will go to taxes) when it is the currency weakness that is causing your money problems. Do what you can to store away important resources, and focus on prepper items that will enable you to meet you food, water, shelter, and medical needs first. Remember that de facto and actual currency devaluations can be caused by both internal and external factors of which there are many that could trigger a collapse at any moment.
4. Money Can’t Buy What Isn’t Available
It is no surprise to preppers that in Venezuela, basic necessities like food, water, medicine, electricity, and other basic needs are being rationed. Venezuela serves as grim validation for what all preppers know the government will do with available resources, and why it is so important to develop and maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.
5. Governments Don’t Go Away Overnight
More than a few people watching the steady decline of our nation seem to believe that our leaders will head for the nearest bunker and leave the people to kill each other off. Clearly, Venezuela proves that government agencies will be around and will attempt to control the situation even as it spirals out of control. As the government gets more desperate, you will see the following tactics (which will only make things worse):
- Increased reliance on laws and punishment. “Do not rely on the government for anything, especially your survival.” (Fr. Frog) As important as this may be, governments will seek to impose increased limitations on free speech, gun rights, other weapons, and self-sufficiency.
- Attempts to control or stop the flow of money.
- Increased election fraud. Most people will recognize that the candidates have no tangible answers and are likely to be unsuccessful at anything remotely useful.
- Increased killing of the civilian population by government agencies.
- Politicians will isolate themselves more and more from the people as they fight among themselves and get caught up in their own desperate attempts to gain control.
6. Riots and Protests Will Continue Until Balance is Achieved
During a major societal collapse, not everything the government does will be bad, even though in general it seeks to impose limitations. Here, as in Venezuela, our society and way of life cannot continue when our law enforcement officers are shot dead just for doing their jobs. There comes a point when protests and peaceful revolutions are no longer healthy and become just as dangerous as anything we might fear from a dictatorship. We have seen this in Syria, and a similar pattern is being repeated in Venezuela.
As individuals, one of the best things we can do is gain control of personal stress levels so that it will be easier to achieve other goals. When it comes to riots and protests, our goals aren’t so much about physical survival needs as they are about meeting communication and team-formation goals. It is our job to open and maintain a dialogue with others in our own community who disagree on vital issues such as gun rights. We are the ones that must come to an understanding among ourselves in a civilized way so that opportunistic terrorist and criminal elements cannot use our division to destroy us. I am not saying this is an easy task, but it must be done.
7. Many People Will Sacrifice Honor and Ethics
The darknet and the black market reveal a subset of our population that already has no honor or ethics. But what about when your own child is starving and someone else has food to eat? While every item has a price, so does just about every person. This has been proven in Venezuela where desperation has led people to do horrible things they would not normally do. In these situations, where starving neighbors are banging on your door, all you have is self-defense via whatever means are available, because a government that can’t bail itself out can’t help you either.
The pre-crisis world is not the time or place for citizens to disarm, or for leaders to make laws that prevent people from defending themselves with guns. These politicians should never be voted in, and as soon as any leader moves to impose more gun control, people should immediately attempt to recall them from office and repeal all unnecessary existing gun control or confiscation laws.
8. Dictators Arise Because Government and Laws Move Too Slowly
As a nation begins to unravel, people will instinctively move to align with strong, dominant voices. When you are tired of waiting for months to obtain sub-par medical care at a high cost, when it takes months to resolve credit report issues, and when everything seems gummed up by red tape, a “take charge” dictator who cuts through all of that will seem like a relief. It is the slowness of laws and governing agencies that lead to the rise of dictators. When people feel desperate and trapped, as they do in Venezuela, the fast answers tend to look like the best ones, even though the end result of a runaway dictator will bring even worse problems later on.
9. Innovation Occurs Along with Destruction
Did you know that almost all of Venezuela’s power comes from one hydroelectric dam and that most people do not grow their own food? While the government and economy are in their death throes, there are no doubt people that are innovating and looking for ways to take care of themselves and open up a whole new economy. Here are some things that are likely to come out of the collapse of Venezuela, but will get very little media attention:
- People will either cut back on electric usage or develop their own power generation systems. Electric stoves will be exchanged for solar cookers, and other methods will be developed in such a way that this nation will never again be held in the grip of a commercial power source.
- People will go back to growing and harvesting their own food. You will more than likely see an increased reliance on wild edible foods that will be cultivated for indoor or small area growing. In our nation, there is still time to stockpile sprout seeds, herb seeds, and edible insect eggs.
10. Terrorism is an Equal Opportunity Employer in Time of Need
While everyone else is watching the currency collapse and the machinations of political leaders, something far more chilling is going on in Venezuela. This “situation” may not only make Venezuela a seedbed for radical Islamic terrorism in a nation not far from our borders, it may open up all of South America to this very same kind of terrorism. The event that I speak of is an “angry and embittered” former detainee from Guantanamo Bay leaving Uruguay (his nation of asylum after Obama released him in 2014) to go to Venezuela. We do not know, and cannot prove what this man did or did not do during his weeks away from direct supervision. Perhaps we will not believe the worst until rioters turn to terrorists in Venezuela and claim allegiance to Al Qaeda or ISIS.
One thing is for certain: if there is a place on Earth where terrorism can take root among rioters, Venezuela is ripe for the picking. And unlike Syria, Venezuela is much closer to us and surrounded by other poverty stricken nations that may fall even faster than the Middle Eastern Nations.
The Final Word
There are bound to be people who say that an economic collapse like the one in Venezuela will never happen in the United States. Nevertheless, our economy and the patterns occurring in the legislative process all point to something very similar. As preppers, we should watch what is going on in Venezuela, compare it to trends in our own nation, and use that as a guide for setting survival skill and stockpiling priorities.
About The Author
Carmela Tyrell is an experienced prepper that enjoys spending time working in her garden and exploring new ways to generate off-grid electricity and water for her family’s home. She prides herself in working hard to cut reliance on all things “municipal” and transition to a more self-sustainable lifestyle. She is also very knowledgeable about herbal remedies, surviving a nuclear disaster and bugging in. You can read more of her work on SurvivorsFortress.com. You can also follow her on Twitter.