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With Venezuela in collapse, towns slip into primitive isolation

With Venezuela in collapse, towns slip into primitive isolation thumbnail

At the once-busy beach resort of Patanemo, tourism has evaporated over the last two years as Venezuela’s economic crisis has deepened and deteriorating cellphone service left visitors too afraid of robbery to brave the isolated roads.

A man weighs coffee beans, given as a means of payment, in a hardware store in Guarico, Venezuela April 24, 2019. Picture taken April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Manaure Quintero NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Gone are the vendors who once walked the sands of the crescent-shaped beach hawking bathing suits and empanadas – a traditional savory pastry.

These days, its Caribbean shoreline flanked by forested hills receives a different type of visitor: people who walk 10 minutes from a nearby town carrying rice, plantains or bananas in hopes of exchanging them for the fishermen’s latest catch.

With bank notes made useless by hyperinflation, and no easy access to the debit card terminals widely used to conduct transactions in urban areas, residents of Patanemo rely mainly on barter.

It is just one of a growing number of rural towns slipping into isolation as Venezuela’s economy implodes amid a long-running political crisis.

From the peaks of the Andes to Venezuela’s sweltering southern savannahs, the collapse of basic services including power, telephone and internet has left many towns struggling to survive.

The subsistence economy stands in stark contrast to the oil boom years when abundance seeped into the most remote reaches of what was once Latin America’s richest nation.

“The fish that we catch is to exchange or give away,” said Yofran Arias, one of 15 fishermen who have grown accustomed to a rustic existence even though they live a 15-minute drive from Venezuela’s main port of Puerto Cabello.

“Money doesn’t buy anything so it’s better for people to bring food so we can give them fish,” he said, while cleaning bonefish, known for abundant bones and limited commercial value.

In visits to three villages across Venezuela, Reuters reporters saw residents exchanging fish, coffee beans and hand-picked fruit for essentials to make ends meet in an economy that shrank 48% during the first five years of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to recent central bank figures.

Venezuela’s crisis has taken a heavy toll on rural areas, where the number of households in poverty reached 74% in 2017 compared with 34% in the capital of Caracas, according to an annual survey called Encovi carried out by private Venezuelan universities.

Residents rarely travel to nearby cities, due to a lack of public transportation, growing fuel shortages and the prohibitive cost of consumer goods.

In some regions, travel requires negotiating roads barricaded by residents looking to steal from travelers. At one such roadblock in eastern Venezuela, a Reuters witness saw a driver fire gunshots in the air to disperse a crowd.

“I haven’t been to the city center in almost two years. What would I do there? I don’t have enough (money) to buy a shirt or a pair of shorts,” said a fisherman in Patanemo who identified himself only as Luis.

“I’m better off here swapping things to survive.”


Venezuela is suffering one of the worst economic collapses in modern history. Inflation has topped 1 million percent, according to figures released by the opposition-run congress. The United Nations says 4 million citizens have fled Venezuela, 3.3 million of them since 2015.

Maduro blames the situation on an “economic war” waged by his political adversaries as well as U.S. sanctions that have hobbled the oil industry and prevented his government from borrowing abroad.

The central bank in April released economic indicators for the first time in the nearly four years, showing a less severe cataclysm than figures published by congress. But the bank’s data underscored a dramatic contraction and spiraling consumer prices, nonetheless.

Slideshow (15 Images)

The bolivar has lost 99% of its value since Maduro took office in 2013.

In the mountains of the central state of Lara, residents of the town of Guarico this year found a different way of paying bills – coffee beans.

Residents of the coffee-growing region now exchange roasted beans for anything from haircuts to spare parts for agricultural machinery.

“Based on the cost of the product, we agree with the customer on the kilos or number of bags of coffee that they have to pay,” said hardware store manager Haideliz Linares.

The transactions are based on a reference price for how much coffee fetches on the local market, Linares said. In April, one kilo (2.2 pounds) of beans was worth the equivalent of $3.00.

In El Tocuyo, another town in Lara state, three 100 kilo sacks of coffee buy 200 liters (53 gallons) of gasoline, which is in increasingly short supply in the OPEC nation due to chronic operational problems at state oil company PDVSA.

In Borburata, another town a few miles from Patanemo, Keila Ovalles harvests eggplant, tomato and passion fruit in the backyard of her modest home. She said it was similar to the way her family lived in the early 20th century.

She stopped drinking coffee after being unable to pay for it, and now makes tea out of lemongrass instead.

“I tell the guys that I’m swapping passion fruit for something else, they spread the word and someone always comes,” said the 55-year-old woman.


23 Comments on "With Venezuela in collapse, towns slip into primitive isolation"

  1. Chrome Mags on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 4:25 pm 

    “Primitively isolation”

    Sounds like a world made by hand.

  2. JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 5:35 pm 

    It’s pretty bad in my home town in Venezuela. We have to use corn cobs to wipe our asses these days. Stupid me I shoved one up my ass and it felt so good.

  3. makati1 on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 5:44 pm 

    America, take notice and learn! This is coming to the US soon. You are just one huge disaster away. Those fancy dollars are just paper and not even good for wiping. Better learn to barter and have something someone wants or you will starve.

    If the US declares a real war on the world, you will finally get blow-back from the destruction you have supported for the last 20+ years. It will come home to the 50 and not be something you watch on TV in some foreign land. The current isolationist activities of Trump may just do it. We shall see.

  4. JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:18 pm 

    Mak, what do you wipe your butt with in the P’s? I bet banana peels work for you guys

  5. Anonymouse on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:29 pm 

    What did the the jews at Rueters completely omit from the horseshit agit-prop above?

    Lets see…..

    -Who is waging a crippling economic blockade of the country?
    -Who has denied the government access to its gold stored in London?
    -Who has blocked CITGO from transferring its earnings to the government?
    -Who has used its assets in country to commit acts endless acts of economic sabotage?

    A: The united snakes! How about that? Who knew? Well no one at ROOTERS, apparently, and you never will hear it from listening to those lying A-holes, because their job here, their only job really, is to imply Venezuelans problems are well, all Maduro’s fault. That is what the reader is supposed to take away from the above.

    BTW rooters, there are plenty of equally distressed amerikan towns and cities that failing or struggling to provide basic services and plenty of people that cannot make ends meet. IN AMERIKA. And to think, the uS has managed to impoverish large segments of its own population to near-Venezuelan levels, without anyone imposing any kind of sanctions on the uS at all.

    Truth and Honesty, left the building a long a time ago here in the free-word orders ‘news’ media.

  6. makati1 on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:39 pm 

    Actually JuanP, I use a very good quality of toilet tissue just like you do. It is made in the Philippines and costs about P75 for 4 – 4ply rolls. ($1.49) Why do Americans think the rest of the world is primitive? Brainwashing?

  7. JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:39 pm 

    Anon, what do you wipe with up on Vancouver Island? I bet you Use spruce twigs.

  8. makati1 on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:46 pm 

    Anon, yes, the US is disintegrating on its own. Trump is hurrying the process to its final end, Third World Amerika, or worse. Even if he doesn’t get reelected, the Dumbocrats have a line-up of similar insanity waiting to take over the collapse. Either way 2525 will see a much diminished Amerika.

  9. Anonymouse on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:47 pm 

    JuanP(AKA DAVY DUMBASS) on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:18 pm

    That was (another) DAVYTARD post, not JuanP. He is not an ignorant douche-bag like the exceptionalturd is. That is his way of continuing to harass and attack you, even with the supposed ‘truce’ going on. Delusional Davy is such an obnoxious shitbag it is rather hard to believe. Well, not hard to believe if you know his history that is….

  10. makati1 on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:49 pm 

    Ooops! 2025…not 2525. lol

  11. More I AM THE MOB identity theft and projections on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:50 pm 

    Anonymouse on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:47 pm

  12. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:51 pm 

    Germany Today

  13. More Davy Identity Theft on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 7:07 pm 

    JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 5:35 pm

    JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:18 pm

    JuanP on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 6:39 pm

  14. makati1 on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 7:10 pm 

    Anon, yep, I guessed that after I had replied and a similar comment popped up making fun of you. If insanity runs in his family, he seems to have gotten an extra large helping.

  15. Anonymouse on Sun, 9th Jun 2019 7:26 pm 

    Runs deeper than you think Mak. Looks like Davytard was running all the comments above under his I AM THE DAVYMOB sock\personaility disorder.

    That is talking plausible deniability to the next level.

  16. Cloggie on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 2:59 am 

    Germany Today

    More proof that for the satanic mobster-kike the third world is a weapon, to be used to get whitey wiped out, under the guise of “humanitarianism”.

    It is time to give his vile tribe the Neanderthaler treatment.

    As a reminder, Europe has thrown Islam out 3-4 times before and a new project is in the works. Rest assured. After the end of Pax Americana, entirely responsible for this mess, history will be back, in spades:

    But first we are going to enjoy the soccer match Eurasia-Anglosphere and get tough with the enablers of the tribe.

    Pathetic “cracker” attempt to “reach out” to the New Londoners:

    Multiculturalism: a dead born child.

    Runs deeper than you think Mak. Looks like Davytard was running all the comments above under his I AM THE DAVYMOB sock\personaility disorder.

    Anonymouse is a sneak preview of the IQ-80 idiocracy of the future. Giving “black intellectualism” a bad name again, eh, moussie?

  17. Cloggie on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 3:15 am 

    BoJo planning tax cut for the rich:

    “Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson faces backlash over plan to cut tax for high earners as senior Tory issues no-deal warning”

    “Trump and Macron’s friendship tree dies”

    The fitting omen for the future.


    The prince is back, after he sat out “Big Deal” DJT.

  18. Shortend on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 4:00 am 

    Doesn’t stop the Royals from having lots of little rig rats, dies it?

  19. Antius on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 4:11 am 

    The impending death of Europe. Depressing stuff. Especially if you are, like me, a European.

    The populist gains at the last European election were insufficient to gain the balance of power. With the huge gains seen by far-left Green parties, mass immigration into Europe is set to continue.

    Unless something very dramatic changes; within the lifetime of people now living, Europe will no longer be Europe.

  20. I AM THE MOB on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 4:44 am 


    Here is your future!


    When those big African migrants move in! They will get that birth rate up for ole whitey woman!


  21. Cloggie on Mon, 10th Jun 2019 5:17 am 

    Here is your future!

    Any idea how many of these boats you need to make a serious additional demographic dent into Europe?

    Currently the influx is as good as zero.
    That doesn’t mean the problems are solved, not in a long shot. The current effective resistance is based on Italy and the Balkans, who are less pc (not judeophile protestant) then the rest of Europe. But to really prevent our demise we need a new value system, post-Marxism, a new religion, post-Christianity and a patriarchy.

    What we need is a 1989 for Western Europe. The Eastern Europeans kicked the Soviet empire out, likewise, we need to kick the US empire out.

    The Soviets have meanwhile turned into wannabee Europeans and are now “good guys”.

    We can do the same for Anglos. US white nationalists like Richard Spencer have no problems calling themselves Europeans. Even Brits like our Antius and the Australian gentleman “TheNationalist” have no problems either calling themselves Europeans.

    Fine. Welcome to the club.

    The difference in getting Russians and Anglos “healthy” again is that uncle Joe Stalin already volunteered to kick Henry Ford’s “The World’s Foremost Problem” (mobster crew) out all by themselves in the fifties.

    That kind of homework still needs to be done for the Anglos. That’s where WW3–>CW2 comes in. And hopefully for England (and continental Europe) we get a Jeremy Corbyn government, so at least that country can be spared by remaining neutral.

    The key for the Anglos is to mentally abolish exceptionalism, empire, globalism, Anglo-Zionism and simply declare themselves to be Europeans and be content to be a loyal member of Eurosphere in a multi-polar world.

    And if the English prefer to be a little separate from Europe, without being an outright enemy, that’s fine as well. I mean, somebody needs to run Canada and New

    Anything that works.

  22. D. Cloud on Tue, 11th Jun 2019 8:49 am 

    I’m thinking I need to put in a boudet

  23. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 11th Jun 2019 9:13 pm

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