Photo by Fabiola Ferrero – El Estímulo

Curaçao and the Venezuelan Península de Paraguaná are completely different worlds. While our Venezuelans starve in a poverty-stricken ditch, riddled with food and medicine shortages, just 40 kilometers away are European tourists stuffing their faces with lobster in five-star resorts.

(Not long ago, they were Venezuelan raspacupos).

If my family’s livelihood was on the line, I’d risk it all to get to the tropical paradise ruled by the Dutch, even if it’s just to mop floors.

Nick Casey, in The New York Times, brings us those very stories:

“I’m nervous,” she began. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.”

One evening at the end of September, Ms. Piñero, 47, climbed aboard a boat in a small town on the country’s northern coast. She dropped to her knees, praying to God that she would survive the journey and find a better life in Curaçao.

The other passengers, tears in their eyes, began to pray too, some joining hands in a circle on the beach. They muttered hopes that the Coast Guard would not catch them, that they were good people, that they were mothers and fathers.

They waded chest-deep into the water, hoisting their few possessions overhead, and climbed into the boat. Its motor started and it steered toward the horizon.

Even the smuggler seemed distraught at the misfortune bringing him profits.

“I would prefer that the crisis ended and my business was over,” the smuggler said after they had left. “I would prefer a thousand times that there was no crisis and we could live in the Venezuela from yesterday.”

Meredith Kohut’s photographs will leave you stunned. Casey’s narrative will captivate you, and perhaps remind you of a certain communist tropical island. The Venezuelan diaspora comes in many forms, and with, according to the article, 200,000 Venezuelans already gone, I can’t help but think about all the untold tragedies.

Kohut, Casey, thank you for el trabajo de hormiga.

9 COMMENTS

  1. It is an ominous sign. What will be the response of the USA to these economic refugees? Will there be an alternative to getting sent back to face hunger? Will this wake up the international community?

  2. Aruba is closer to Paraguaná, what’s the incentive of taking a longer, riskier peñero ride to Curaçao? Is it easier to be accepted as a refugee there?

    • Any/every one with half a brain and not a lot to lose/bind is trying to leave, same as happened in Cuba, with most increasingly locked-in with the BM rate at 3M/rising.

  3. 1- As I see the picture of the balsa leaving on the top of the page, I can’t help but remind of the same NYT saying that Trump’s America would end like like Venezuela. Look at that picture again and reflect on that for a second. After Down Jones reached record highs in the last weeks, they already look BEYOND PATHETIC, and this is only the beginning of their burden.

    2- After the ‘dialogues’ destroyed the popular revolt, that’s the only thing the Venezuelans can do, it has already been said above, what is to leave. I have always been a ‘radical’, ‘extremist’, the kind of person asking for a fight until the end, but there’s only so much you can do after such criminal betrayal from the top.

    So sail for freedom desperate ones. To pastures green and harmony. Regroup and start again. Be inspired by the Dolar Today guy.

    • Nick Casey’s reporting on Venezuela has been the best of any Western periodical since he started on that beat at the Times. Not sure why you feel the need to attack the paper every time it’s linked or mentioned in passing, it’s not relevant to this.

      The Dow Jones has also almost tripled since Obama took office. It’s just one indicator among many that reflects many different things.

  4. Good thing Curacao is ready for us. Earlier this year The Netherlands increased their “Red Cross” and Refugee funding for the Antilles. This was ratified in the last Budget review as they renamed a “potential Venezuelan refugee crisis” as “imminent”.

    Here we go!… I hope they didn’t underestimate what’s coming.

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