Balseros del Siglo 21

It's not a socialist revolution without desperate boat people risking their lives to get out. Kohut and Casey have done it again.

Photo by Fabiola Ferrero - El Estímulo

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.

Carlos Hernández

Ciudad Guayana economist moonlighting as the keyboardist of a progressive power metal band. Carlos knows how to play Truco. 4 8 15 16 23 42