Friday, November 28, 2014

Extra 30% OFF any Book in Amazon

Amazon is doing an extra 30% off on any book. To use this promotion, you must enter "HOLIDAY30" at checkout under the "Gift cards & promotional codes" section to receive 30% off any ONE (1) book purchased in your order (up to $10 promotional credit).
If you didnt get "The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse" or "Bugging Out & Relocating", this would be a good opportunity to do so.
Take%20an%20Extra%2030%25%20Off%20Any%20Book

Guard Dog Rips Off Owner’s Arm

En el hospital. “No me había mordido nunca, lo tenía de cachorro”, dijo ayer Muñoz.
http://www.clarin.com/sociedad/rottweiler-neuquen-brazo-mordio_0_1256874410.html
There’s no dangerous dogs any more than there’s dangerous guns, it all depends on the human handling either one.

Emilio Muñoz lives in Huiliches, a lightly populated district in the province of Neuquen, Argentina. Because of the crime problem that affects the entire country, Muñoz bought two Rottweilers as a guard dogs. Mister Muñoz suffered seven robbery attempts in four and a half years. His male Rottweiler called Otto did the job it was supposed to, defending the house, even killing two robbers during break in attempts, one in 2011 and another one in 2012.

The dog had never bitten its owner before but two nights ago when Emilio Muñoz parked his car after dinner Otto attacked him and didn’t let go for 12 minutes. The female dog did not attack him but it didn’t defend him either, instead retrieving to its dog house and occasionally coming back to lick him as he was struggling with Otto. A neighbor eventually heard the screams and came to his aid, pulling back the attacking dog and eventually strangling it to death with the choke collar.

Just buying a dog and letting it take charge of your household is a VERY bad idea. Large, powerful breeds require an owner with years of experience handling dogs of all sizes. The Rottweiler is not my favorite dog. It’s not as much the dog’s fault as the people owning them and breeding them, in many cases looking to develop and breed dogs with more violent tendencies rather than focusing more on maturity and obedience. The Dogo Argentino would be such a dog, powerful yet with an extremely cool temper. Dogos will defend the home and owners well from both two and four legged predators. Last year A Dogo killed a puma (cougar) that attacked two little girls in a farm.

Over the years I’ve heard of many incidents where dogs kill family members in Argentina. Without exaggerating at least eight out of ten times it involves a Rottweiler. Again, they are all animals, they all may have instinctive reactions, but either they are focusing on breeding particularly violent, unstable specimens of Rottweilers in the country, or those buying them are particularly ill equipped to handle them.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday Deals

Folks, Black Friday is practically here and there are some great offers. Here are some deals I saw being mentioned in various preparedness and EDC forums.
$20-$10 Range
Leatherman Wingman Multi Tool $19.96


Kershaw Lifter $9.99

18 bucks was already a great price, 9.99 is a steal.
SABRE Pepper Spray - Advanced 3-In-1 Police Strength $14.55
SABRE Pepper Spray - Advanced 3-In-1 Police Strength - Large Magnum Tactical Spray
$50-$30 Range
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools S66N-CP PowerAssist Multi-Tool $50.48

Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival $33.32

Beast 1095 steel survival knife, comes with a great sheath too.
+$100
Casio Rangeman "Master of G" $208.50

This one is on my personal wish list. I like the name, I like the looks, I like that its pretty much an upgraded solar Protrek which I’m very fond of, but with the added benefit of being G-Shock ruggerized.

Samsung S5 Active $634.99

 Do yourself a favor and go Android. The S5 is the rugged version of Samsung's flagship model. Dust proof and water resistant, intended for outdoors use.

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic $396.00
Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic
Red dot that is always on for 3 years.
FerFAL

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My take on the Shooting of Michael Brown


Monday, November 24, 2014

Self-defense in a “flash mob”‏ / Riot?


Ferfal,
Do you have any thoughts about how a CPL/CCW/CHL holder should react in a flash mob situation that turns potentially violent? I know that the best scenario would be to leave when the mob begins, but say you’re trapped in a store when they start trashing the place, and they see you and decide you’re to blame for their economic troubles and start to come at you. In such a situation, your life is in definite danger, but you can’t just start shooting indiscriminately. Any advice? With the Ferguson ruling expected any day now, things might get interesting in a hurry.
Dan



Hi Dan,
Its an interesting topic. Right now we’re waiting to see what happens in Ferguson but this can truly happen anywhere. Between riots, looting and flash mobs, its important to know how to react, what to do and what NOT to do.

First, get proper training. Even before buying a gun, learn how to use it properly. Shooting cans with your cousin or uncle does not constitute professional defensive shooting training. If you haven’t been properly trained, no matter how well you think you shoot you still haven’t don’t know how to FIGHT with the gun, and that’s very different from target practice and hunting.
Second, its important to actually carry your weapon at all times whenever possible. I have said so many times but its worth repeating. The gun left in the safe will do you no good, it’s the one on your hip that matters when the chips are down.
When it comes to dealing with a mob, the first thing to keep in mind is that drawing a gun is the last thing you want to do. Stay calm, its probably not about you and if its not about you don’t change that by bringing your gun to the equation. Leave it in your holster for now. Whenever possible, leaving, even running is better than shooting someone. I’ve been caught in a number of protests, roadblocks and lootings. In most cases you are better served by remaining calm and moving away from the group. That alone works beautifully well. When it comes to getting trapped, try to avoid that as much as possible. Whenever walking into any room, always identify at least two exit points. The one you just walked through would be one, but find another one. Fire or riot, you still need to know how to escape.

If the violence is directed against you and you can’t escape, we’re talking about a pretty bad series of events where many mistakes were already made. In this case, with your safety at risk and a reasonable fear for your life, you can bring out your gun. This doesn’t mean you start shooting, but it may still help, as guns often do. No one wants to get shot, and with your gun drawn you may have bought a few seconds given the surprise/fear factor guns usually have. Make the most of those seconds, move away fast. If you wait too long those nearby may lose that fear, become more bold and try grabbing you forcing you to escalate. Of course you want to avoid this as much as possible. If that’s the only option left and its either shoot or get killed, shoot the closest, most violent attacker first, quickly move to the second one and assess the situation before engaging again. One guy dropping after getting shot usually causes those around him to reconsider their actions. How cool and in control you remain will decide if they rush you or not, so you better know what you are doing and do your best to stay in control.

Maybe the most important thing to keep in mind regarding such a delicate situation is training. Proper training will be crucial so as to control the situation, have enough confidence, project that confidence towards the mob, and ultimately have self-control so as to know when to shoot and when not to. Untrained, nervous people are far more likely to mess up, maybe even accidentally shoot, effectively escalating the situation.
Get training, carry your weapon and stay calm!
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter is Coming… at least 10 dead already


Folks, be careful out there.




I hope you have all followed the advice mentioned here before several times. Stock up on basic supplies such as ready to eat food, water, medical supplies, radio, flashlights and batteries. Have alternative means of heating, enough fuel and backup for those. Have a generator, but don’t forget a kerosene heater or a Mr. Heater as your backup’s backup.
Keep in mind the main causes of death that repeat themselves each winter:

*Heart attacks while shoveling snow: Take it VERY easy and take breaks often.

*Exposure: Either because of a mental illness, underestimating the weather conditions or simply ending up trapped in your vehicle in the middle of the storm.

*Car accidents: Avoid going out if possible, get your tire chains and be very careful of black ice.

*Slipping on ice when walking: Lots of injuries and broken hips because of this.

Take care people!

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thrunite T10T Titanium: Functional, Elegant & Affordable


How useful are flashlights? Let me put it this way: While installing the included clip I dropped one of the small hex screws and had to use the same flashlight I was attempting to install it on to find said screw under the table. I just don’t understand anymore how anyone can function without a flashlight in their pocket.

As it happens with most everyday carry items, flashlights eventually become more than just a tool and it becomes a personal totem, a lucky charm of sorts. We want out gear and tools to work and work well. Be rugged and durable. But if they can look good while doing so that’s even better. In the world of EDC, aluminum is cheap, stainless is tough and classy (though heavy) and titanium means premium, combining both durability and light weight. The Leatherman Charge is a perfect example. Its durable, practical, yet no matter how much you use it, it still holds on and still looks good, providing a small bonus pleasure whenever you clip it to your pocket. EDC items must be functional above all things, but if they also look good and you enjoy having them around then that’s even better.


 
Thrunite T10T
Thanks to its slick looks and titanium construction, the Thrunite T10T does just that, and it does it at a very affordable price. The T10T is a good looking yet tough flashlight, drop tested to 1.5m and water resistant to IPX-8 (2 meters). Dropping it a few times from a height of 5 feet on a wooden floor the flashlight showed no signs of damage, neither did spending half an hour in a muddy puddle. These aren’t extreme tests but the kind of thing that may happen during normal use when accidentally dropped either indoors or out in the field.

The Thrunite T10T reflects that simplicity and elegance both on its exterior design and its user interface. It uses a single AA battery, commonly available. It has a reverse clicky interface, although it can also be used as a twisty when left ON. Clicking on the tail switch turns the flashlight on and clicking again or tapping on the switch cycles through three different modes, low (0.2 lumens/147 hours), medium (20 lumens/39 hours) and high (169 lumens/ 1.5 hours). The memory function remembers the last mode used. You can choose between cool white or neutral white XP-G2 LED.
ThruNite T10T CW 169 Lumen Single Cree Xp-G2 LED Edc Flashlight
The T10T comes in a nice presentation metal box. I generally don’t care about packaging, but it does make for a better presentation when giving it as a gift. The light comes with a clip that is easily installed. This is recommended because it makes the light easier to hold on to, you can clip it to your pocket and it stops the light from rolling around on flat surfaces. Thrunite website shows a two year warranty for any manufacturers related problems and service after that with the client paying for the materials needed for any repairs. Included in the box along with the light is a plastic diffuser wand. This works pretty well and given that the light can stand on its tale it turns the EDC light into a lantern. Given the long runtime and the affordable batteries it uses this makes the T10T a very viable option for power outages and emergency lighting.
The Thrunite T10T is available in Amazon or through Thrunite’s website.

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dual Citizenship: Why is it so Important?


Hey FerFal,

After reading about your grandfathers interest in this and how much it
helped your family over the years I looked into this for me and mine.

After several dead ends I think we finally have found a way to get an
EU citizenship for our family.

Mostly it seems to be due to a great grandfather that never got
naturalized here in the US.

Going to work on it as a winters project!

SD

That’s great news!
It may not seem like it, but having a second citizenship is one of the best things you can do not only for yourself, but for your family’s future generations. It’s THAT big a deal, and yet so many people just don’t get it.
Having a second passport, especially a European one means you can walk into any EU country like any other citizen. You have the right to live in any EU country, along with all the rights that implies. In fact, citizenship means that if while traveling or living over there you get sick or injured, you have the right to receive free medical care.
In a worst case scenario, multiple citizenships increase the likeliness of having a passport that may get you through the border when needed the most. It means you can open accounts and buy property much easier than just using your American passport. For your kids or grandkids, like in my case, it means unrestricted access to a new world when you need it the most.
So many people fail to see all this, probably because they’ve never been in that situation, but for those of us that have, like myself, and my grandfather, we know how valuable multiple citizenship can be. Don’t think about you never wanting to leave, or just not being interested in doing it. Don’t think about how many years it may take just to it. Years fly by. It’s just another tool, an extremely powerful one at that, in your bag. Just check your family tree, go online and see if you can get any citizenship. If you can, then don’t think just go for it. You’ll thank me one day, or maybe your grandkids will thank you!
FerFAL
 Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rural Crime Keeps Getting Worse: What do criminals look for?



In my first book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse”, I explained that when crime gets to a point as bad as seen in Argentina, living in the country doesn’t mean you’re safe. Actually, it’s often the other way around. Living in the city means you’re exposed to more random acts of crime, given the greater amount of people, but in the country and other isolated properties or homesteads you are exposed to some of the more violent, longer lasting home invasions which in many cases end up with the home owner or his family being tortured, either for sadistic pleasure of the criminals, or in case money is being hidden in a secret location.

Yesterday an article was posted in Argentina’s La Nacion news website explaining the growing amount of such incidents. The subtitle literally reads “The victims, due to fear, started leavings their homesteads and farms, and are moving to urbanized areas with more police presence”.

What are they looking for? “They took everything”, says Carlos, a victim from Los Corralitos region in Mendoza. Cattle gets stolen, so does leather crafts made for sale by locals. Cars, firearms, electric appliances, farm and construction machinery, even tractors everything is taken. Sometimes people get attacked when they come back home from the bank, with the money needed for payments.
Loot recovered from a 15 men gang. They had committed over 18 robberies.

The image shown above shows some of the loot recovered from a gang of 15 criminals that specialized in such targets. The article mentions the isolation, solitude and lack of police presence as important factors. Rural crime in the province of Mendoza (known for its vineyards) has increased 300% in the last 5 years.
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fernando Aguirre with Jack Spirko on The Survival Podcast




Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast is a great guy and it was nice to talk to him again.
Here’s the link to the interview, hope you guys like it!


FerFAL

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part II


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reply to: Winter Preparedness: Buying a Generator


Reply to: Winter Preparedness: Buying a Generator

Anonymous said...With the same ~$1000 budget for a generator, you can get 300Watts of solar panels, charge controller, and batteries that will let you run LED lighting and communication.

Add an inverter/charger and you are more prepared for low-quality power common in collapsing economies that are still limping along. A generator is for running large loads and charging battery bank during long periods without good sunshine. I'd combine my loads that are big (freezer/clothes washer/water pump/power tools) and run a gas gen-set to use them, while the battery is also getting some charge. Morning is a good time to run for a few hours, then do service on genset. 24/7 operation of 3600 rpm genset to be able to flip on a light or watch tv is noisy, fuel-guzzling and wears out the genset rapidly. Disagree that propane is a good alt-fuel for genset: the engine is generally low-compression to be able to use 85 octane "regular" or worse fuel, not high-octane equivalent that propane is. Dedicated propane engine, sure. Propane is almost as dangerous as gasoline, and should not be used or stored where people sleep. Diesel is much less dangerous to store or handle, and the US-Mil thinks so too.
Fusing and transfer switching makes power safer, as does planning ahead.

pdxr13
Renogy 100W Mono Starter Kit: 100W Solar Panel+20' Solar Cable+30A PWM Charge Controller+Z Bracket Mounts
A solar setup sure is a good idea, but the 100W solar panels plus Deepcylce batteries and inverter does add up quickly to the price. LED lights isnt as much of a concern , the problem is more demanding appliances such as the fridge, washing machine and AC. For that, the generator will give you power as long as there’s fuel. With batteries, once you ran out, you’re out of luck until youe recharge with solar or a generator. Of course combining a solar power system with a generator would be the best of both worlds.
FerFAL

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winter Preparedness: Buying a Generator

With the deadly Polar Vortex (or is it Artic Blast?) threating to freeze everyone to death we are yet again forced to prepare for this silent, unexpected killer otherwise known as winter. Its not as if it happens every year…
All joking aside for some reason winter season seams to catch everyone by surprise. Most people are just ill prepared even for the most predictable of things. I was reading a post in a forum a few days ago about how someone helped out his neighbor by loaning them a spare generator. Guess who didn’t bother buying a generator for the following winter?
Ideally you would have a solar power setup, a wood burning stove and require as little electricity as possible. But the fact still is in some cases people need electricity for heating, pumping water, cooking and communicating among other things.

When buying a new generator, keep the following in mind:

*Buy Quality
Pay once, cry once. A generator can be priceless during disasters. How people were stealing generators during Hurricane Sandy, even offering sex in exchange for one on Craigslist, goes to show how valuable it can be when you really need one. The last thing you want is for your generator to fail when you need it the most so its important to buy quality products with plenty of good reviews.
You’re probably better off buying a new one with a good warranty than picking a used one which may or may not serve you well, depending on how the previous owner maintained it.

*Get only as much generator as you need
Bigger is not always better. It may just mean that you’re wasting fuel generating electricity you don’t need and you’re going through your fuel reserves much faster than needed.
So as to prevent this, add up the wattage of the appliances you plant to use (check manual or inscription in appliance) and remember to take into account that some electric motors draw three to five times more power when starting than when running under full load. Since you probably wont be starting all appliances at once, simply add the starting wattage of the most demanding appliance you plant to connect.

 
*Get a Dual Fuel Generator
Dual fuel generators allow you to use both gasoline and propane gas. This is a big advantage in terms of logistics and cost. For medium to long term blackouts, the cost of fuel is a big consideration and it will add up quickly. Propane is much cheaper. Propane is also much more stable, easier to store and doesn’t degrade like gasoline does as time goes by. It also means that if needed, you can scrounge propane for people’s barbeque among other possibilities.The Champion generator shown below can use gaslone of LPG, which make it 50% to 70% cheaper to run. It has excellent reviews, is sold and shipped by Amazon which gives extra peace of mind and comes with a 2 Year Limited Warranty.



FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kershaw Lifter Review Update: Broken blade tip


After some use the tip of the Kershaw Lifter snapped while cutting some dry hard wood. The geometry of the blade, a narrow tanto tip, allows for some fine precision cutting but also makes it somewhat fragile. Keeping that in mind I wasn’t applying excessive force for but after getting caught in a knot and twisting the blade the tip did snap. I suspect heat treatment problems with this particular knife given the coarse gritty texture of the steel visible on the broken surface. This kind of problem can happen with any knife, there's always a chance of having a defective unit whenever mass production is involved. For a 18 usd knife, this isnt the end of the world, especially when you have a good warranty and the company takes care of it. I'll be sending the knife back to Kershaw and expect them to fix it under their warranty. After a few weeks of use, the knife was opening swiftly thanks to the Speedsafe system. It locked well and was a handy all around utility knife. I still think its an excellent budget knife, a good folder within its limitations which every knife has.

 
 FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part I

Argentina’s economic collapse is a valuable case-study because of its unique circumstances. There are countries that have existed in poverty for thousands of years, where most of the population has lived in awful conditions their entire lives. While that is tragic, it does not represent a good example as of what happens to a developed nation, both economically and socially, when it collapses due to numerous factors both local and foreign. When the world shuddered during the 1929 financial crisis, Argentina had the world’s 4th largest GDP. The country had a strong and well-educated middle class, respectable local industry, an enviable amount of natural resources and agriculture which earned it the nickname of “granary of the world”.
I have often written about how life after an economic collapse is not what most people believe it to be. There’s no fancy bugging out into the woods, there’s, zero, zip , nada use of most of the equipment that is so often advertised as essential to survival. There’s no camping, no hunting, and no epic battles against zombies or colorful Mad Max type gangs.
But then again, what IS it like? What Discovery Channel and other reality TV show “experts” tell us is not it. But what’s it like to live, struggle, work and raise a family? What do you see happening during an ordinary day? What concerns people? What works, and what doesn’t? The short answer is in this article’s title. It’s the same, only worse. Nothing good come out of it. Sure, you can say that surviving a plane crash brought your family together, or getting over a disease made you appreciate life more, but at the end of the day you don’t wish either one on anyone.

Crime

Crime has always been a problem in Argentina but you could most certainly see a drastic change after 2001. It used to be that everyone locked their doors at night but some people had alarms in their houses, some had fences and in even fewer cases some houses had burglar bars on the windows. After 2001, you quickly saw home security becoming more of a concern each passing month. A couple years later it was hard to spot a house without burglar bars on the windows. Those that didn’t upscale their home security ended up paying for it. On the streets it was the same thing. Before 2001 everyone knew of someone that had been mugged, maybe someone that had been carjacked or even an incident of home invasion in the neighborhood once a year or so. By 2014 home invasions are practically a daily occurrence in each neighborhood and it’s almost impossible to find a person that hasn’t been a victim of crime in the past decade. At the very least, people had a cellphone or a purse snatch. It’s common to come across people that have been held at gunpoint and carjacked not just once, but two times or more in recent years. Every person I know has had a family member killed or at least seriously wounded during a robbery. By 2011, Argentina was the country with the most robberies in Latin America (UN data), with 973,3 robberies per 100.000 inhabitants. Mexico came second with 688 robberies. Brazil ended up in third place with 572,7.
http://www.infobae.com/2013/11/14/1523693-para-la-onu-argentina-es-el-pais-america-latina-mas-robos-habitante
It becomes a part of life, you just deal with it and accept, yes, that’s the word, you “accept” this as an inevitable part of life as much as you accept the possibility of getting sick or being involved in a car accident. When crime happens so often and it becomes such a high risk factor you have two choices: You either accept it as a part of life and chose not to worry beyond some basic common sense safety measures and carry on with your life, trying not to worry about it anymore than you worry about getting hit by lighting, or you do something about it. You try to improve security in all aspects of life as much as possible, home security, armed and unarmed self-defense, learning defensive driving techniques, taking as many passive and active security measures and precautions as you can. You carry weapons to defend yourself. You learn how to use them. You make yourself as unappealing as a potential victim as possible. You avoid dangerous situations and places. Basically you learn to live in a constant state of alert. While the second path is more likely to keep you safe, it’s also the more stressful one. I don’t need to tell you which path most people end up taking.

Social Instability

As soon as banks close their doors, the protest started on the streets. First in was against banks stealing people’s money. Then it was against the politicians that allowed it. During the riots of December 19th and 20th of 2001 cars and buildings were burned down and over 30 people died in various incidents across the country, but once the dust had settled we understood that the rioting and civil unrest that we simply never saw before to any considerable extent was now here to stay. Riots, roadblocks and protests were part of everyday life. Sometimes they were violent, sometimes stores got vandalized. The inflation, unemployment and in many cases true hunger didn’t help. At times it was just a matter of a grocery store giving up some food to avoid being looted. Sometimes, when it was really just about a few hundred people showing up half begging half demanding food, sometimes that was enough to avoid getting a store looted. Most of all it was a matter of waking up every day, checking the news to see if there was any ongoing protest or any planned area of conflict and find alternative routes to wherever you needed to go. If you got caught my a mob it could turn ugly, but in general it was more of a nuisance, knowing you would waste a couple hours of your day just to cover a few miles across the city. Strikes also occurred with frequency, sometimes unannounced. You’d lose buses, trains, even flights because of this or that group going on strike. If you had a child in a public school, you could expect him to lose up to 30% of class days due to one form of strike or union problem or another. Public offices were particularly prone to this type of problem. Between strikes, those days when the network went down, or there was no power, combined with their natural incompetence made any paperwork involving public workers a true nightmare. You need to have your car’s annual check or test? No problem. Be ready to lose your entire day for something that shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes in any half civilized country.
This would become a common pattern in Argentina. Thing’s “sort of” work. You have cops in Argentina, but you better know how to defend yourself. You have an electric grid and you pay your power bill, but expect to go 2 or 3 days a week without power in summer. You have tap water, you sure pay for it, but only a fool would drink it without filtering first.

Power

Electric power is one of the best metaphors of the situation in Argentina: It doesn’t work when you need it the most, and even when it does it’s of awful quality. When you do have electricity, it’s usually of lower voltage than the standard 220V. Sometimes it’s so low air conditioners and microwaves won’t even work, and that’s when you have power. During summer time when electricity is in greater demand because of the intense South American heat, expect frequent outages which may last days, even weeks in some cases. The reasons for these problems are numerous. Because of poor regulations and corruption companies rarely kept up with the necessary infrastructure updates. This only got worse after 2001 with the devaluation and price increase of imported supplies. Power has been subsidized in Argentina for several years now and the price has been kept down artificially, making the problem of lack of investment even worse. During summer time it’s common for transformers to blow up. There’s also the constant problem of cable theft due to their copper content. Because of the lack of investment in power generation, along with thousands of millions spend in projects where the money disappeared without a single brick ever being laid, Argentina was forced to spend 9.500 million Usd importing energy in 2011 alone.
If you expect to have power, you better get yourself a generator. Without one most stores wouldn’t be able to stay open for business. A voltage elevator is also a necessary investment so as to compensate for the low voltage “dirty” power that at times is useless.

Communications

Something similar happens regarding telecommunications. The lack of investment while adding new customers means the network is oversaturated. Operators in Argentina work at 135 MHz, which is half or what they use in Chile and one third of what’s used in Brazil. It is estimated that over 60% of the calls experience problems, from lack of signal to dropped calls. Cell phone communication falls, again, in that gray area of post-2001 Argentina: they kinda work, sometimes. You can pay for 3G connection, but getting it is a matter of luck.
Floods
The problem is again, lack of investment and infrastructure. It also comes into play the enormous amount of litter on the streets which clog storm drains. Storm drains are also made of pretty heavy metal so… remember the inflation problems, along with crime and unemployment? Storm drain grated inlets are usually made of heavy iron. That iron fetches a nice price when sold, so these where stolen all over the country. Everything from statues, historic plaques in monuments and even doorknobs have been stolen because of the price of metals.
If flood prevention investment is a problem in developed nations, you can imagine how bad it gets in a place like Argentina. Without hurricanes or even serious storms, just heavy rain is enough to end in tragedy. In April 2013 a flood in the capital city La Plata claimed over 100 lives. As years go by and the infrastructure is not only not upgraded but deteriorating, floods are yet another problem people in Buenos Aires have to deal with.

Transportation

Driving around Buenos Aires isn’t for everyone. Roads are in awful condition, people literally drive like maniacs and if that’s not enough, you also have to worry about getting carjacked or mugged in a red light. People from developed nations that try to drive in Argentina usually give up after the first attempt. They can’t understand why no one respects basic traffic rules, why they seem to cut you off for no reason, let alone roll down the window and insult you.
Yet again, lack of investment and corruption is key to explain why this happens. The money that is stolen isnt there to put up traffic signs, fix roads or build more of them. There’s no investment in driver education either. More often than not people get their license by bribing someone rather than actually doing the test. In my case, it took me all day to get my driver’s license simply because I refused to pay a bit extra to get it right away. In each stage, the sight test, theory test, practical test, in each one I had to explain that no, I don’t want to “pay” to get it quicker. I must have been the only guy that day that went through the entire process. With uneducated drivers you can imagine what kind of people are behind the wheel. Add to that the overall poverty level and poor condition of the cars on the streets, and combine it with the level of stress and violence the entire population is subjected to.
In the case of public transportation it is again, far from ideal. Train accidents with fatalities keep happening for the same reasons: Corruption, lack of control, lack of investment and politics getting in the way of doing things right. Traveling in train, subway or bus during rush hour lets you experience what a sardine feels like when it’s getting canned. The service is overall unreliable. Busses and trains break down often. There’s also strikes and remember those protests and road blocks to complicate things further.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.