Cubagua is on its own

The small island of Cubagua (part of Nueva Esparta State) was the location of Nueva Cádiz, the first Spanish settlement in Venezuela and South America.

After running out of pearl oysters (the main source of local income, and the reason Margarita used be called “la perla del Caribe” until some place in Belize apparently snatched the name), the town was abandoned by the settlers.

Even if it was declared a place of cultural heritage in 1979, what’s left of Nueva Cádiz is not only its historical ruins, but the current lack of public services and government attention.

The promise of turning Cubagua into an archaeological park and tourist destination has ended up in nothing. The substitution of ranchos for colonial-style houses stalled after completing only one house. Half of the twenty families that lived on the island four years ago have left.

Cubagua is another example of the disregard for our historical heritage.