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Editors Note: I am really excited to share with you a post from my friend Jose. Some of you that read The Organic Prepper or Zero Hedge are familiar with his writing. Jose went through the collapse of Venezuela and shares his knowledge with us through informative articles.
I started talking to Jose online when he joined Facebook and we found ourselves chatting quite often about preparedness, politics, and life in general.
Jose has the admirable ability to be able to keep a positive attitude despite the extreme hardship he and his family have faced and continue to battle. No matter what he is dealing with, he somehow finds the time and energy to answer questions with wisdom and compassion.
I am proud to call him my friend and glad to have him contribute to Backdoor Survival. We can all learn a lot from him. -Samantha Biggers
After all the side effects I could see in the worst of the collapse, I have decided to write some advice about concepts a prepper needs to think about, and how to apply to certain activities afterward.
The application of these concepts is very likely to mitigate the above-mentioned effects and will save time, effort and resources to the community and individuals. These are as follows:
Information management and communication
Optimizing time is going to be quite important.
Without cable TV, and gossip programs, too many people will have plenty of available time. Their minds will be looking for some different stimuli because that is the way they have been wired since a very young age. Without that, they will crave for it, originating a number of different situations to get them.
Fights, alcohol, drug abuse, sex, all kind of activities.
How do I know this?
Because I heard the stories told by those who are still there and see their neighbor’s ́ behavior…with the money, they receive from their partners abroad. In some places where blackouts are more extended than in others, people seem prone to look for some other interesting ways to spend their “free” time.
Having this said, let’s seriously analyze this now.
Yes, there will be a little more time available but at the same time, stuff is not going to be readily available. Unless your prepping level is quite high, allowing you to have an entire assortment of equipment and all kinds of gear and machines, and a stash of raw materials to be able to hold on some kind of business for a while, days will be long and not as productive as before.
It is going to be important to optimize time.
It’s even more important to learn to optimize resources.
Depending on the nature of the situation you face, local or general collapse, extinction-level stuff…then the importance of optimizing everything becomes greater.
Kids must learn to avoid useless waste of resources. Some grownups will have to learn it the hard way and try to survive.
But optimization is something that we need to manage properly.
I don ́t mean with this being cheap and imposing food rationing on people who are going through deep psychological and possibly physical impacts. I mean to induce people in our community, including children to use their imagination in creative ways to mitigate the impact of a collapse.
It’s quite interesting to have learned that in the country where I am, basic education is quite conventional and traditional, educationally speaking.
Our education in Venezuela is (yes, still IS, and we are going to fight with guns if we need, to keep it that way) based on “constructivism”.
This means giving tools to construct and guide the students to find their own ways to actually DO things.
(This explains plenty of things. Just look for our advances in the medical area related to other countries of Latin America). For example, is there is no engine oil because there are no shops nor stores, nor will there be for a good time, what creative solution could your children find?
Being a prepper, I’m actively looking for blueprints to build an oil recycling machine or a mini plant. Having been looking for some time now. Maybe your children in the future, with different tools and different mind setup, can come out with something better. (I truly hope so!)
With this concept of optimization already established under our context, now we can talk about the next step, inherently related to it: task specialization.
This has been paramount for our evolution. I can imagine an old Neanderthal, removing carefully with hits of a stone in strong but expert hands, his fine motor skills tuned up to the extreme, little bits of the edge of an obsidian stone to make a knife.
Polishing with sand in the river, and wrapping carefully a leather strip in the handle to improve the grip.
Maybe he was not as a good hunter as other ones, but his knife making abilities allowed the other ones to take advantage of their own skills much better.
To avoid wasting furs, and to slice meat taking in thin pieces, to preserve it for a few days by smoking or sun drying.
Focusing on just a few tasks is going to improve our chances to accumulate knowledge on that, and it will expand our chances of trading and merchandising successfully our product or service. It is a result of basic economic growth.
I don’t mean with this that just a few things should be produced.
On the contrary, the more diversified the products of your homestead are the better prepared you are, but trying to learn new skills, and to undertake new labors that could be so challenging can overwhelm our own capacity and is not a smart move.
I talk from experience on this.
I would love to learn about artificial intelligence to use it in some drones I’ve been thinking about developing…but just don´t have the time, nor are my resources are so plentiful that this is going to be practical in the near future.
What I can focus on is, for instance, in putting together some means to identify steel alloys with simple, primitive methods, and predict their behavior and properties upon quenching. I can make a simple forge, and put together a rig to melt aluminum scrap.
This is my thing; metals and materials.
I can grow crops for sure, but if a fellow farmer comes to my shop with an urgent need like repairing a part, the grid is down and I’m the only one around with an old biodiesel generator in 100 km around…this is an edge.
If my arrow tips are so good that can be used hundreds of times because I know how to make them properly, I have another edge.
If I can make a bow, or a big butcher knife, or a machete with a scavenged spring leaf because I know everything about how to treat the material they are made of, its properties and capabilities, I am a specialist.
And…. it will be a great contribution to the community because their job will be much easier thanks to the tools and equipment I can provide.
Given the need, it´s even possible for me to build a copper melting facility, and find some way to extrude copper to make wires. Primitive, surely odd-looking, but making a functioning wire from old, burned down, and materials that other way could be lost forever is a skill that could be very valuable in the future. You don’t even need electricity for that.
You need to know how to optimize your time, that’s for sure.
3. Information management and Communications
It´s quite strange to see and listen to the diverse opinions of Venezuelan people are regarding what has happened. However, most of them have slowly accepted a basic fact. We have to produce our own food if we don´t want to starve. Before our collapse developed, we were a society with some relative advantages regarding technology. Our industrial infrastructure was not bad compared to other countries.
Corruption of political classes, because of the excess of oil money, was the main factor impeding our further development. If I remind correctly, we had more cellphones at some moment in the past decades than any other country in Latin America. With a simple call to my bank, I could ask for a loan to my bank, any time. It was useful, though, once my parents were left stranded 800 km far from home on a car trip.
An effective communication network of some kind is going to be a need.
If I decide, for instance, to plant mustard in my cottage, is not going to do any good unless I can sell it for a good price, say, someone in the opposite side of the country that has to buy imported, processed products at a much higher price instead of the raw materials I could provide at a much lower, affordable price, under a much more reliable scheme of supplying. And a good, streamlined communication has to be established.
No matter if communications are done via cellphone (20 years of neglecting are taking its toll in the now fragile cell phone network) and the internet, but unless things start to change fast, these are going to be as ineffective and poor servicing as the NK or Cuban crappy systems. Of course, this is good for the thugs in power. People under good communication can coordinate actions much better and we know that.
Another paramount factor to give back to some degree and collaborate with the reestablishing of a certain level of normality and regularity is improving the communication grid. These days, it’s surprising for me to learn that almost no one uses the landline telephone grid anymore.
Say, you can’t send an email. But the landlines are still working well. You have stashed (like I do) an old PC with a network card that happens to work as fax too. And yes, I’ve got a quite old VGA monitor for that PC too, just to have that retro feeling (and don’t make me start talking about those wonderful mechanical keyboards of the 90s…they are a blast, still have 2). LOL.
If anything happens, and the cellphone grid is down, but landlines are still functional, establishing a quite efficient communication network between local authorities is going to be necessary, and this is a proper way. Unless there is a major disaster that impedes this infrastructure to keep working (something unlikely because of its technical principles) it is going to be one of the most efficient ways of communication.
Trading Posts and Routes Post SHTF
A “trading” post between commerce chambers for our products in our different neighbor towns, just like the old days, to bring back prosperity and welfare is the final goal. Of course, a good communications grid is not just for trading. Medical attention, for instance, and the rapid dissemination of official information.
Another important means of communication to offer our products and services is going to be the local AM/FM radios. They have been always good media resource for several reasons, and because of its unique features is very likely they are going to be there for a long time.
Communication, in the broader meaning, is not just limited to the electronic transmission of information. One of the worst effects of the collapse has been in the maintenance of streets and roadways.
Potholes everywhere and craters abundant and deep make driving slow and even painful. Because of this, a cheap, affordable and relatively efficient means of transport…are small motorcycles.
Those 125cc engines go a long way with the 30 liters per week rationing scheme imposed by the thugs. They became the only way of transport for some people, indeed. Traditionally, these small, agile and relatively fast little bikes have been used for ages by armed thugs.
I prefer heavy bikes like my own, and although she’s not so agile I can dodge potholes and other obstacles. She’s thirsty, but what can I do? Drove me one year without asking anything but a coolant, oil and filter change.
Small motorcycles are excellent for transporting a lot of things!
I’ve seen all kinds of stuff being transported from the countryside to town: boxes with chickens, pigs tied to the rack…even goats being carried by two people in those bikes. Huge potatoes bags, plantains, egg boxes, car or truck tires, whatever you can carry, I saw it being transported in those little, annoying small cylinder bikes.
With spare parts like batteries, tires, filters, and other similar for large trucks, engine oil scarcity and all kinds of roadblocks asking for papers, food confiscation, all of that, many people have found this as a solution. As a matter of fact, I find quite intriguing why this has not become more common.
Thanks for your reading, fellows. I look forward to hearing your comments!
About the Author: Jose Martinez is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon
5 Responses to “3 Concepts That Are Useful After Collapse”
Dear Robert, thanks for such an elaborated comment. You mention something quite important: there is a bunch of industrial methods and relatively affordable (or able to be built) that would ease a lot our life in the homestead. These could be the base for a side business in a post collapse environment, specially in farming countryside. In Venezuela oil recycling was unknown, because we had a huge infrastructure to produce an incredible excess. But in Ecuador and Peru it is an everyday business. I had somewhere digital information about a design using microfiltering, it avoids using water to wash the oil. It´s a shame that many people I know with this skills are not into prepping, nor into investing and fly with a business or they own. They´re stuck in the weekly payment and bitching about the “bad government”. I will review this links ASAP.
When I was in the Navy, training to being a Machinist Mate, one of the courses was oil recycling. The training stated the the old oil is put in a big metal container then heated for a few days straight. What this did was let the big heavy particles sink to the bottom. There were holes in the container from the top to the bottom a few inches down from one another. The holes were attached to pipes and once we could see to a certain clarity a valve was opened and oil went through the top hole then after the oil drained past that hole the valve was closed and the next valve down was opened to skim the cleanest oil on top. The oil that was collected from the heated container then went through what they called a “washing.” Basically they used centrifugal force by way of a centrifuge. Water was injected into the centrifuge first then spun up to speed. The oil was then added and the remaining particles in the oil would go through the oil go through the water and escape. Water and oil don’t mix so after you removed the water you have clean oil. I was told during this training that the centrifuge design is based off a design used for milk production. I went to Youtube and here is a few links. Hope this helps out.
This last Youtube link shows how their centrifuge oil cleaner works. Hope this helps.
I will answer your questions one at a time.
1. Most people (over95%) was definitely unprepared. People keeps garden because of our rural existence inheritance, not yet evolutioned under the “prepping” concept.
2. The collapse was not sudden. It was a slow declination, still under effect. Slow motion agony. The intention of those who generated this, are to knee the population and slavish it under desperation, just like Cuba.
3. Afterlife is not pretty, but most of those still in cities are getting the worst of the crap.
4. I see the migration waves as our equivalent to the golden hordes. Over 5 million people left.
5. My wage was destroyed by hyperinflation. There´s nothing left of our former team. Everyone´s gone and those still going, just check their cards in the morning, and left the building. Not worthy to remain there the entire day. Payment is not enough to buy food for 4 or 5 days.
6. In our particular instance, generally a good portion of uniformed people are considered part of the problem.
7. Culturally speaking I find we North and South Americans, specially Venezuelans are pretty close, and most people don´t know that. We love barbecues, baseball, drink beer, like party and stuff. We have much more in common with the USA than with other countries. I have learnt that our common history between both countries has been manipulated by unscrupulous communists, to make us believe that your governments wanted our resources. It happens now, Venezuela is being looted by those foreign powers that invaded it, starting with Cuba in 1967, the first country arriving with guns and boots after 200 years.
My take is…people won´t be running desperately on the streets from one moment to another. I don´t see that happening. Everyone will be shocked in their living rooms, while the most advanced in prepping silently will left everything behind, going quietly.
If it hasn´t happened in Venezuela, with all the reasons to happen…hardly will happen in the USA.
I will keep writing a lot more about those experiences. Stay tuned!.
Thank you for your reply. I just finished reading your article about Venezuelan children and their attempts at coping with the collapse of their economy. As I have grown children and now a grandchild of my own, your description of their plight brought tears to my eyes.
The fact that the Venezuelan collapse was (and still is) a ‘gradual’ one gave me some hope…yet, I can’t help but think that everyday life cannot be healthy (physically or mentally) for anyone, young or old.
Surrounding yourself with family and friends and coping together seems a good way to face life, but I can’t help but wonder (with the extremely high suicide rate) if discouragement and hopelessness are very prevalent–even for those with a ‘survivor’ mindset. It is hard to imagine spending every waking hour scrounging/searching for food for those whom you love, yet that is what parents do when faced with a dismal reality.
Thanks again, for keeping us informed.
With the US printing money (quantitative easing is what they call it) to keep the US economy humming along, it is only delaying the inevitable here as well. We’re a divided nation. Some (preppers primarily) see the future plainly and are saving and preparing for an uncertain future. While others (liberals and ‘progressives’ who desire redistribution of wealth) are intent on spending us into an even greater economic Black Hole which can never be repaid. Of course, there’s always the ‘blame game’ where greedy capitalists are benefitting off the backs of those who cannot figure out that they’ve been lied to for decades. It would seem there are a great many economic factors involved, and I don’t pretend to understand even a tenth of it. However, it is unmistakable that crimes rising in some of our overcrowded cities. There are attempts being made to disarm the people (by enacting new limitations).
People in the USA are currently experiencing relative ‘good times’ (low unemployment, low interest rates, and a relatively high ‘consumption attitude’. Debt will eventually be our downfall. I suspect that when OUR bubble bursts (or slowly deflates), the unprepared suffer greatly because they lacked foresight. The division we’re currently experiencing will pale in comparison to what could happen when the unprepared finally wake up to reality. The reality (as I see it) is that our continuing debt cycle WILL eventually be untenable and WILL collapse/deflate.
May God bless you as you journey forward.
I was wondering about life in Venezuela immediately after the collapse. Were a lot of people semi-prepared? Does there typical Venezuelan have a kitchen garden, and/or do they put aside some money, food and water for emergencies?
In the USA, particularly in Prepper Circles, there seems to be a lot of talk about the ‘Golden Horde’ which supposedly will descend upon the countryside when their 3-day supply of groceries runs out. ‘Beans, band-aids, and bullets’ is bandied about as though it were inevitable that desperate people will quickly descend into lawlessness as they realize they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
What was your social situation like? Can you describe the afterlife in the city, the suburbs, and the rural areas? Was it different depending on where you lived? Did people still have jobs to return to? Were there masses of unruly ones, with threatening, rioting, stealing, damaging property, etc.
What about the police? Were they a threat as well or a stabilizing force for law and order? What was the response time after reporting criminal activity.
Americans tend to be isolated from world events, so it is hard to know or even predict what behaviors to expect from folks following a collapse of any kind. Is the American culture either similar enough OR different enough from the Venezuelan culture that you could make any predictions for what might happen in the USA?
I realize that any number of catastrophes ‘could’ happen besides a collapse in the financial sector…there could be an EMP or solar flare, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, monetary system collapse, overwhelming weather-related disasters, etc., etc. One cannot prepare for everything, and in some cases, you may only have seconds to flee and have to leave all your preparations behind.