In a real deal SHTF situation, such as a nation in turmoil and civil chaos, how would you fare? When the infrastructure goes down and there’s dead in the streets, what will you do?

That’s a reality for one of AP’s readers living in Ecuador, who’s been giving me steady updates on the deteriorating situation there. He first contacted me over a year ago trying to get their communications up to speed at the local Red Cross chapter. Years of neglect and a focus on more convenient systems caused their antennas to deteriorate and a lack of any knowledgeable operators. If that was bad enough, Simply getting equipment into the country is a challenge.

But then again that’s the scenario we work around in the RTO Course, building infrastructure where there otherwise would be none. That’s why we learn antenna theory in a simple, easy to grasp way. And that’s why everyone builds one from field expedient parts for themselves and gains that confidence that what they’ve built will work.

He sends:

If I could get arms and a radio I might go to the jungle and continue to live here but as I told you earlier this really speaks to living without arms and radios…… I think there are other groups not just the indigs that are receptive to being armed. Its easy to look at this as a white/indig divide but its much more along the haves/have nots. The VAST majority of people here are poor or paycheck to paycheck, forget savings, never happened in their lives. Some (more in the cities) live on their credit for their houses, cars and so forth but as you can see from how the pieces of this are falling off, the majority takes the bus or Ecovia (subway) to work and back every day. so as in most colonial cultures there are a number of people who feel repressed and would take up arms if given the chance…….there are also a lot of mixed race here, different shades on the color wheel. In the central and south the Ashuar have killed and actively do kill whites who get involved with their women. Most of their communities are accessible by either bush plane or river…. They are left alone by the Ecuadorian government and everyone else. Macas, in South Ecuador is the white or non Ashuar settlement surrounded by their tribe. It feels like what I imagine it felt like to troops garrisoned in forts during the push west in US history. I went to Macas several years ago to try to find out about climbing Sagay mountain and was told politely by an Ashuar alcalde to stay away, outsiders were not welcome on their mountain…..

There is a world of jungle between here and Venezuela. Not an easily border to control. A corridor for arms…..

I have thought about going to Colombia, to Ipiales and trying to find out if there might be any radios floating around there that I might get, maybe one of the ex FARC sets but have not done so to date. At this point it wont happen until when/if the problems here go away or get resolved.

People here are angry about this in a way that I have not seen the American constituency get angry at their government. There is resentment in the indigenous community against “blancos” in general and most times not at a specific blanco….. I got some of that today when I was a lightning rod for an indig woman from the mountains near here. I know her and saw her on the street when I was in town earlier- she went off about what is happening. It wasnt directed at me but its easy to see how depending on where this goes, that it could boil over and “anything white is a target”….. I doubt if its penetrated the walled compounds of expat gringos here and in Cuenca. I rent here but had I invested in property I would be uneasy as hell provided I was even awake (most of the expats are not).

Again radio gear–getting it to Ipiales and getting it in country may prove to be the best path. I can move to Colombia for example and would not face quite the restriction on arms or the tariffs on radio gear that I do here but–given the situation with a resurgent FARC, ELN&c how good an idea is that…… there are reportedly a large number of FARC that are rearming given the Colombian governments apparently broken promises. If I could find a FARC girl a lot of this might be resolved no??(joke).

There is one radio amateur that lives here that I know of, I dont remember his callsign. He and wife both are retired from NATO. He has a Kenwood of some type (I think) and by his own admission never uses the equipment because of antenna restrictions where he lives (who the hell would move into that type of situation no?) and his wife “doesnt like it”…. I have seen him a total of possibly 4 times in living here 18 months and am going to ask if I see him again whether he would like to sell what he has- but I doubt it.

Finally thanks very much for allowing me to contribute and thanks very much for all of your work as well. If you need anything different let me know.

A lot to cover here. First, on the commo portion. Who in their right mind, in that situation, would listen to a combative wife? Or care what an HOA has to say when the nation is melting down? I’m willing to bet he’s part of the ‘I know what to do when the time comes’ crowd. Reality will bite him, just like it does his former employers on a regular basis.

That aside, it underscores the need for wire antennas. As we’ve done in class, it’s easy to make an antenna from 14AWG and have it nearly disappear into the background. Even white wire pretty much vanishes from a few feet away in dense vegetation.

On smuggling radios- knowing the jungle passes of a border region is extremely important info, especially if you find yourself needing to smuggle your way out. And that’s not outside the realm of possibilities. But with that said the easier way to accomplish our mission is just make friends with the NATO guy. He should be familiar with making intelligence cables, which if he’s got contacts in the region or in the US I strongly advise him to dust off those skills and start building commo windows- a set schedule y’all will be transmitting on. Those cables are the same report formats I teach on the first day of class, giving the operators a format to send information quickly and effectively.

Keep in mind though that transmitting in a particular pattern or using any type of encryption is strongly discouraged unless you’re willing to get snagged up by the local Stasi and taken to the fingernail factory. Do not doubt that for one second your communications, especially VHF in that region, will be tightly monitored. And while we don’t think much of it here in the US, radios, especially HF, are frequently considered to pinpoint you for espionage in many parts of the world. And being an Expat, they’re probably already thumbing the rolodex for any potential HUMINT ties. Don’t underestimate having a cover for action for everything the security apparatus may find interesting. Working for the Red Cross is a good explanation for having a radio.

Onto the FARC…I expect a unification between them and the ELN, brokered and backed by Venezuela. They needed new arms and Caracas has them. And it all looks like a larger scheme of maneuver for South America. But, more on that later.

2 questions- where do the tactics come from and 2, where does the money for this come from. The mobilization of the indigenous to date has been nothing short of spectacular. Transport, food and so forth doesn’t come cheap for this huge number of people… interesting questions.

Short answer: China and Russia.

The two nations have a very long game in mind for South America and have for the better part of the 20th Century. Russia worked to actively foment communism, taking advantage of the poor social climate left in Central America from decades of exploitation and the social dynamics between indigenous tribes and the Castilian upper class in South America. Today its an active effort to build manpower for the southern invasion of the US, which they appear to be on track to accomplishing.

And on that note, they’re steadily on their way to meeting their goals. For everyone else out there, what other clues do you need to get off your ass and train? A good portion of you reading this are living in a comfortable delusion, probably the same one Mr. NATO is living in above. The communists said they’d bring the war home all the way back in the 1960’s and here they are, taking active steps to do so. But your guys won the last election, and even after three years of the Marxists trying to overturn it and one year out from them getting their revenge on you, you’re still reading and not doing.

Something to think about.

For the serious, there’s training. For the rest, there’s HOAs, Facebook and the NFL.

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