HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Economic Crisis Fueling Piracy on Caribbean Coast
BRIEF

Venezuela Economic Crisis Fueling Piracy on Caribbean Coast

CARIBBEAN / 8 DEC 2016 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Venezuela's dire economic situation is fueling piracy off the coastal state of Sucre, providing one example of the various illicit activities growing along the country's Caribbean coast that have come to affect local communities.

The ongoing economic crisis in Venezuela has hit the once-thriving fishing industry in Sucre particularly hard, pushing local fisherman to turn to illicit activities for sustenance, according to Associated Press.

"People can't make a living fishing anymore, so they're using their boats for the options that remain: smuggling gas, running drugs and piracy," union leader José Antonio García told the news service.

The media outlet said pirates target local fishermen to rob them of their netted fish or the boat's motor -- the latter item being particularly valuable for drug traffickers looking to increase the horsepower of their vessels.

The Associated Press reports that some of these thefts have turned deadly. Dozens have reportedly been killed during robberies this year, fueling bloody vendettas between some of the victims' families and the aggressors.

Acts of piracy along coastal Venezuela also affect other states and other types of victims. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, four anchored cargo ships were boarded this year close to Puerto de la Cruz in the Anzoátegui state, to the west of Sucre.

InSight Crime Analysis

Acts of piracy against cargo vessels or private yachts off Venezuela's Caribbean coast have been reported for a number of years now, and Sucre's waters were already considered highly risky as far back as 2010, according to a report by a Venezuelan non-governmental organization working on maritime security. But the country's dire economic situation appears to be contributing to an increase in piracy targeting large and small commercial interests alike.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profile

Moreover, the economic hardship seems to be encouraging many to become involved in other illicit activities like drug trafficking and human smuggling as opportunities for legal work dry up. These trends are illustrated by recent press reports from El Estimulo, which quoted a local fisherman admitting that "at least 80 percent of the inhabitants of [San Juan de las Galdonas, a coastal town in Sucre] are involved in" drug trafficking, and the New York Times, which reported on an increase in human smuggling on the Caribbean coast as thousands of Venezuelans attempt to escape their country's devolving economic situation.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 25 FEB 2022

A veteran FARC dissident commander was killed in a Colombian military assault, leaving a power vacuum in the volatile Colombia-Venezuela…

CONTRABAND / 19 JUL 2012

A new government strategy to counter gas smuggling in the Venezuelan border state of Zulia has created a fierce backlash…

COCA / 19 MAY 2014

A record number of drug labs have been dismantled in Venezuela's border region with Colombia, suggesting that Colombian criminal organizations…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…