Venezuela’s scarce gasoline and insecurity tie the hands of La Guardia fishermen in Margarita Island

Venezuela’s scarce gasoline and insecurity tie the hands of La Guardia fishermen in Margarita Island

Venezuela’s lack of gasoline and insecurity tie the hands of La Guardia fishermen in Margarita Island


The ‘La Guardia’ cove, in the Díaz Municipality of Margarita island, used to be a source of pride for the fishermen of that area for being one of the largest in Latin America, although no longer the most profitable for fishery as it was in other times.

By Dexcy Guédez//Corresponsalía

Wilfredo Cedeño, representative of the Council of Artisanal Fishermen of that town, emphasized that lately the problem that affects them the most is fuel scarcity, which keeps their hands tied because they must go out to fish in areas like the Macanao Peninsula so as not to return “con las manos guindando” (with empty hands).

“The fish are too far away for us fishermen here and we have to go too far, either to Macanao or Manzanillo with two drums of gasoline, that is, 120 liters of gasoline that they give us weekly,” he emphasized.

He regretted that they have also been deceived with the promise that they will give them spare parts to repair the engines and the promises from the Socialist Fisheries Institute (Insopesca) are not fulfilled.

Furthermore, he insists that there are many thefts, and in his case they have stripped him of several engines.

“7 years ago they stole a 75 (HP) engine from me, and for that they cracked the heads of my boys. The mayor told us that she was going to help us with an engine and I’m still waiting. And here there are several who have had things stolen (from them),” Cedeño highlighted.

Likewise, they promised them that they would fix the boats that are stranded due to broken boards and are still waiting.

“There is no help for those whose boats are broken, they should sell them a little gasoline so they can go on another boat, on another vessel to fish. Nothing. We need help here,” he insisted.

He denounced that the so-called “caveros” (‘cava’ is icebox, ‘caveros’ are intermediaries who buy fish and store it in ice) abuse the fisherman a lot and want to pay him what they want for whatever the workers extract from the sea.

“While they are filling up, because they sell fish very high prices, the poor fishermen ‘hacen maromas’ (juggle it) so they and their families can eat.”

Absence of the Government


Lack of gasoline and insecurity tie the hands of La Guardia fishermen in Margarita


Argenis Zabala, spokesperson for the Fishermen’s Ombudsman of that town, regretted the non-compliance with the promises of the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries, as well as local Mayor Marisel Velásquez.

“There are many fishermen whose boats have damaged engines and they do not have the money to repair them. The governments do not help them with credits (loans) so they can go to work and obtain food for their children,” Zabala remarked.

He emphasized that currently the only ones who give loans are the banks, and the fishermen know that the current fishing activity does not allow them to pay under the conditions demanded by these institutions .

“If one can’t pay, people already know that they will take away the properties they have as collateral,” lamented Zabala.

They request support

Emilio Villasmil has also felt firsthand the insecurity that reigns on that beach.

“Things are hard, because apart from the fact that our engines are stolen, we don’t have support from anyone. They always talk, they keep us expecting that they are going to help us and they never help us,” he stated.

He remembers that one Fisherman’s Day, five years ago, his outboard motor was stolen and despite the promises made by the National Government through the Socialist Fisheries Institute (Insopesca) and Mayor Marisel Velásquez they offered him help that never came.

“I never saw anything and thank God I was able to sell my car so I could buy and fix an engine so I could work,” he stated.

Villasmil insists that the gasoline problem has never been addressed by those who have the power to do so.

He assures that because he is one of those who go furthest from the coast to seek sustenance for himself and his family, he uses 200 liters of gasoline daily.

“Where can I get 200 liters of gasoline a day? If they only give us 120 weekly every Monday,” he said.

He reiterated that to work, some fishermen help each other and provide each other with gasoline on some occasions, although not always.