Venezuela Survival: Prepping in the Worst Economic Collapse

In this series, you will look at what life is like for a family man living in a social and economic collapse. The writer of these posts is a middle-class Venezuelan, in a country which has the world’s highest inflation rate at 254.9%. Venezuela is a financial collapse nightmare with extreme shortages of food, riots severe hunger, a crippled economy, crumbling infrastructure, collapsed healthcare system, and a failing government.

The Venezuelan collapse has escalated to a breakdown in social order, putting Venezuela at the top of Latin America’s most homicidal nations. The rate of Venezuelans murdered is now 20 times that of the US.

Here is the first in a series of posts from the Venezuelan Prepper.

I started prepping when I first found out that I was going to be a father. All types of concerns came into my mind keeping me asleep late at night and distracted during the day.

My take on those problems was with a logical approach, a methodology I have grown used to when solving problems in my role in the oil industry.

Think about the scenario: our newborn baby has a fever, it is raining and suddenly the lights go out (almost a daily occurrence here). So what do I need to fix that? I might need a power generator, flashlights, and candles. Easy. Let´s suppose, for instance, our car suddenly breaks down and there is no food at home (also a common occurrence). We might need a larger freezer and a well-stocked pantry with long-shelf-life foods. Check. And so on, you get the picture of how my mental process was at the time. These were my thoughts when I was living in a normal modern country, not the Venezuela you see today.

My main goal in life was to retire early so I could enjoy more time with my family. To look at doing such a thing I started to educate myself with mainstream financial advice books, mostly Kiyosaki´s books like ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. For me, it wasn’t just about retiring early, it was also about becoming more self-sufficient and frugal so that I could provide for my family, should things start to get really bad around here in Venezuela. Thank god I prepared, because they got real bad.

Men attempting to steal rice from a cargo truck
Men try to steal rice from a cargo truck arriving to the port in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Photo by Fernando Llano/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

Prepping at the first sign of political trouble

Why would I be expecting things to get worse? You would have too with all of the political noise toward the end of former President Hugo Chavez’s time in Venezuela. In the months leading up to his death, we knew that a conflict was more than possible, with someone, only time would tell.

For some of us, the reality was that our country could easily slip off the edge and become crippled under a poorly ran government, so we started to prepare for the worst, and thank god, because now Venezuela is in the worst economic and social collapse of our time.

Anti-government protestors
Anti-government protestors dissatisfied with the way the Venezuelan government has handled all of the issues around the collapse and the food crisis.

This, if I analyze it objectively, was a great move. We were able to cope with the beginning of the crisis without too much trouble. And just before the spike of the collapse came through we were able to buy most of the extra supplies we needed at low prices, this was especially the case as a lot of people lost their jobs and were in debt so we were able to buy extra supplies in their urgent garage sales. Some of these things were:

  • A Duxtop portable induction cooktop (I got it for much cheaper than they sell for on Amazon),
  • A cheap used game for the kids to play and leave my computer alone so I can take up freelancing
  • A HAM radio
  • And a range of construction tools for repairs and projects

No doctors, no medicine, and a rising mortality rate

At the time, for me, the logical decision was quitting my job. This was despite the full coverage medical insurance for my entire family, including my parents. This was one of the main benefits that the state oil company provided to the employees, and it was the best insurance in the country.

Hospitals have been stripped of equipment and services
Hospitals have been stripped of equipment and services. Photo: Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Why did I give my health insurance up? Without medicine and doctors that insurance would have been hopeless. You see, just before the collapse all of the doctors migrated due to budget cuts, and most of the medicine now is from the black market as the government can’t afford to stock hospitals with medicine. This has left most hospitals and doctors clinics with nothing more than painkillers to treat you with.

As members of a country that once offered great healthcare, we now have to be completely self-sufficient. The lack of health care services has claimed thousands of innocent lives. There is even a recent announcement in one of Venezuela’s biggest public hospitals in Ciudad Bolivar, that the mortality rate for newborns has reached 40%.

This is the reality of surviving in a country’s collapse. Yes, things can go this bad.

Some of my savings in hard currency (there is no point in the accumulation of the national currency) were for getting some medicine and food. Once we had depleted my savings, I knew things were going to get worse, in an exponential trend. I read enough about history to know this.

Food rationing is for those that fail to prepare

Venezuelans waiting in line for their food rations
Venezuelans waiting for their food rations. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

I would like to emphasize how fast things went down the toilet these last few years. It goes a lot faster than you can imagine.

Until 2015, when the infamous food rationing started, things were more or less running as usual. Those with access to foreign currency (I had an online job as a writer for a finance blog in Spanish) could trade them for currency to makes ends meet, or buy stuff we needed overseas. It was what a developed country should be like.

That was until the change of government, the drop in oil sales and a country in debt which had, for its most part, been ruined by its predecessors.

Once upon a time we had weight issues from eating too much enjoyable food. Fast forward to anywhere past 2015 and Venezuelans have been lining up for food rations every day. For those of you that don’t know, the Venezuelan government runs a very controversial food rationing system to deal with the food crisis. The rationing is also a way to stop wealthier shoppers from buying food and reselling it at a much higher price (remember, everyone is desperate). The rationing system gives people permission to buy a certain amount of food on specific set days of the week, and no more than that. As a result of this, Venezuelans eat no more than twice a day, if they are lucky.

My family did not suffer the impact so severely as many others just because we made the necessary financial and food preparations.

People walk past empty shelves
People walk past empty shelves at a supermarket in Caracas Marco Bello/Reuters

In one circumstance as an example of how bad things were, an old lady who was a neighbor of ours saw my child and myself coming from the bakery where we had bought some overpriced sweet bread. That old lady asked us for a piece of bread, as she could not have any lunch. For Venezuela, at the time, this is something that would never happen. It was in the afternoon so I invited her to our place to have some coffee. She was shocked that we even had milk and sugar. I gave her some sardine cans and half a kilogram of rice, and she went home. My wife and I were sitting in silence, and I said her, “Do you see that all my prepping madness finally is what is getting us through.”

One of our worst nightmares was to see the food rationing system by the government as I mentioned above. Sure, we had harsh times, but food was available in our family home.

For those who remember the Argentinian collapse, and how bad it was, I should mention that it was something that was somehow expected for most of educated and more ‘aware’ population. They were able to keep up, and adapt themselves. But most of the people suffered an unrealized shock that they weren’t ready for, and this is why we saw looting of warehouses, stores and markets countrywide. Most of the people just didn’t see it coming.

How is the situation right now in Venezuela? It’s spiraling

Just from my own own research and the current understanding from other residents, the country is spiraling further and further which just makes my need to get my family out of the country more of a priority.

Public health

The public health service is practically void. It is so bad that the syringes are being sterilized by boiling and reused. There are no basic medical supplies as saline solution, surgical gloves, and disinfectants. Blood pressure medication, insulin, and antibiotics are more valuable than gold or silver.


For food, canned food is more expensive than anything. There is engine oil available, but at very inflated prices for those who earn in local currency and if you are looking for car and truck spare parts they are almost unavailable. There is no positive outlook as food processing plants are working at 25% their capacity and most farms have closed down or are unable to run efficiently.


Airlines are steadily getting their planes out of service, because there is no way to get parts or fuel.

The public transport system is more than 85% disabled.


The currency control office is not “assigning”  any dollars. The main economic engine of the nation, the state oil company is broken. The revenues of this company have been decreasing in the last few years, as a result of the lack of capital injection for maintenance and operation.

This will make things worse in the next two or three months as that steady money supply gets lower. The issue might arise when the elite get first pickings over the food because of their money, which the rest suffer without, just like in North Korea.

We have the means to spread the knowledge, and the means to protect ourselves against unforeseen events.

The Venezuelan Prepper is Jose M. A middle-class Venezuelan professional with a family who, before coming to live in a societal collapse, enjoyed holidaying, hiking, outdoors and evenings with his family. Now, he’s a prepper trying to survive in the world’s highest inflated economy. You can support him through his Paypal donation link here, or through his Bitcoin donation address: 3B2wuHTSWvkhUaaVf4baRiqeXy8UHTpm9w

Venezuela Collapse: Survival Of A Prepper In The World's Worst Economy

Venezuela Collapse: Survival Of A Prepper In The World's Worst Economy

Venezuela Collapse: Survival Of A Prepper In The World's Worst Economy

20 thoughts on “Venezuela Survival: Prepping in the Worst Economic Collapse”

  1. Excellent reporting from someone living through this nightmare. This is a great way for Jose to earn some money to help his family. I sent a contribution, and I would like to be sure and receive any additional reports he sends.


    • Thanks Dean, he is sending me another post this coming Wednesday and it will be published on Friday.

      Yes, it is a great way for him to make money (I pay him as a writer) and a good place to spread the personal news, not just the political news, of what is happening at a human level.

  2. I really don’t understand why the American people aren’t seeing more of this on the evening news instead of what Beyonce & her little girl wore to the Grammys. I fear our society is doomed.

    • I find this comment specially interesting.

      I have arrived to the conclusion that our apocalyptic situation is no other thing than a carefully orchestrated conspiracy to take over my country: Russia and China are responsible because their investment in the country is huge. A couple of years ago, anyone telling this to me would have received a sarcastic look. Now I am a true believer. It is just not possible that the national guard steals the meds in the customs, and take the cash from the people trying to get out that mess of a country. With this over the table, I would say that the mainstream media just don´t care about regional crisis in what they called 3rd world countries.

      We gave to the world the vaccine against the leprosy, developed by Dr. Jacinto Convit, who avoided the patent being taken over by the Big Pharma Corporations to be sold, now it is produced by states all over the world.
      Our universities were (some of them still are) as good as many from North and South America, and a lot of our professionals could travel overseas and become successful.

      Mainstream media role is DISTRACTING THE SHEEP from the real world struggling. Your congressmen won´t like an avalanche of letters asking for more sanctions to the corrupted gang that took over the country. But if you see the pictures of the malnourished babies in MY CITY, you would not sleep at night. This is not Ethiopia, devastated by years of civil war, without water sources nor farming land left; this was a place where the poor children had worms, not dying by starvation. I try from time to time to login into my tweeter account and use the hashtag #Preppers, so if you keep watching that hashtag will see some of my RTs with those horrendous pictures, that I RT so the people drinking their mocca lates try to understand what is really happening: a GANG of corrupted military/politicians taking over the land that belongs to a peaceful, mostly poorly informed mass of people whom does not have the means to rebel.
      Thanks for your meaningful comment.
      Jose M.

    • Agree. Americans focus on the most shallow and insignificant aspects in society and worship celebrities as if they are gods. Most of them don’t have a clue and are so ignorant they can’t even fathom anything other than what they see on social media or play on video games. Those are the ones that will be coming for your food during an American collapse. Those gangs that are wiping out high-end stores will be coming to your home when SHTF.

    • Hi Dean, I’ve just had feedback from Jose. He has managed to move to Peru with his family for the time being. This is only temporary however as they have no place or supplies in Peru.

      Thankfully Peru has allowed a special visa for Venezuelans and Colombia has also granted temporary legal status to more than 150,000 Venezuelans. For the people who are left behind, let’s hope the economy stabilizes at some point in the not-too-far future.

      • Thanks Ben, glad to learn they are out, for now. Very disturbing to follow what’s happening to a modern society like Venezuela in “real time”. We all read what an economic collapse would be like “in theory”; unfortunately, the folks like Jose and his family are actually experiencing it first hand. Sure hope it turns around, but as he’s said, if the power goes down for an extended time, all bets on a recovery are off! I wish them well….

        • It really is disturbing, and it’s sad that there was not much assistance given at the start, or even now, as it is happening. Jose has told me that there is a possible intervention set to take place, most likely by the UN. I don’t know if that will solve much of the issue but at least it might keep some peace, as the place is a free-for-all at the moment.

          • It looks like the UN coalition forces are expecting a military uprising. As an updating, they are getting imprisoned to ALL the former Uncle Hugo high rank (generals and col. lieutenants) fellows: Cliver Alcala, and Suarez Chourio…Jeez, they got in jail even to the Special Forces Commander Chief Carrasquel Vargas!…he went down without shooting a bullet!. This is inconceivable to me.
            This guys have been emasculated or what? I think I come from a different gene pool.

      • I simply don’t understand why so many intellectuals think socialism is such a perfect system. When imperfect people take power, it is like the ultimate aphrodisiac. Any system of government requires leadership. When that leadership becomes corrupt, what are the people supposed to do, when they have just made the government the executor of the Venezuelan estate? The people gave the state all of the power. Now what are the people going to do?

  3. I’m very concerned that the United States is not going in and helping this cluster F… especially because of Russia and Chinas conversation about the country, it’s positioning in regards to setting up bases and grabbing a certain mine that is rare and produces a certain mineral desired for space travel. Plus the oil!” China is gold and oil crazy!” Pence went to Peru and the conference held in April. We should attempt to work on stabilizing the situation in Venezuela. I believe it is strategic warning bell to all who fight corruption and graft on the backs of its people. And can happen here. Maybe sooner than we think.

    • Dj, there definitely seems to be a lot of politics at play in Venezuelan crisis. I feel as though Venezuela may only be the first of a few other latin American countries to go through this.

      Jose (Venezuelan Prepper) might be more of a source to provide insight on this, however from my point of view, I think we will see some very interesting developments over the next few years. We’ve seen what happens when governments run rife with corruption and show no support for its people – it was called the ‘Arab Spring’, where people would eventually overthrow their government.

  4. This is so sad, love and light to all who suffer. This is what happens when you let others control your life. I plead with everyone help eachother. Share what you can help the less fortunate but reserve your power for yourself.

  5. The Venezuelan economy was Not as diversified is the U.S.
    When our last recession happened; I heard news stories comparing it to the great depression of 1929. We survived
    our latest recession. job losses were not as severe. the stock markets did not implode.
    We need to learn to live within our means.
    Who seriously gives a @#$%^ if you are driving a 10 year old car?
    who seriously cares if your clothes were not advertised in Vogue or GQ magazine?
    If you want to buy a $50,000 car; why not make a $25,000 down payment on it?


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