The new ‘balseros’ (rafters): Venezuelans try to escape repression and misery by throwing themselves into the sea

For decades, the Cuban people have found themselves in such a desperate and intolerable situation that throwing themselves into the sea to escape repression and misery is a viable option. With the Cubanification of Venezuela nearly complete, the Castro regime and its puppet dictator Nicolas Maduro have made this unconscionable and dangerous option a reasonable method for the Venezuelan people to escape misery and tyranny.

Orlando Avedaño in PanAm Post:

As Crisis Worsens, Venezuelans Turn to Perilous Escape Routes by Sea

On January 10, a group of Venezuelan rafters headed for Curaçao were met with tragedy. Many people on the raft died, and then the survivors were intercepted by authorities. They are now in police custody.

News of the dramatic incident aroused the indignation of Venezuelans throughout the country and abroad, as the incident showed how the severity of President Nicolás Maduro’s crisis is pushing people to the extreme when looking for refuge.

Despite the publicity the incident received, escaping the country by raft isn’t actually a new phenomenon. Venezuelans — like their Cuban counterparts — have been taking to the water to escape economic hardship and government oppression for some time now.

“It’s been happening for over a year Venezuelan,” journalist Daniel Blanco tweeted. “Immigrants have been playing cat and mouse with the Dutch coast guard officials on the coasts of Curaçao.”

In 2015, facing conditions that are nowhere near as bad as they are today, 2o Cubans left Venezuela on rafts headed for Panama. They were unable to reach their destination and were eventually rescued by the Colombian National Navy.

In March 2016, authorities found the body of a Venezuelan rafter who was apparently headed for Aruba. At the time, his death was emblematic of a changing attitude and growing fear that Venezuela, despite having been one of the most prosperous countries in the region, was starting to collapse at an alarming rate.

In August, authorities arrested 20 Venezuelans attempting to flee to Curaçao by raft.

There may be more information and more cases that have not been reported. According to the journalist Alberto Rodríguez, a total of 60 Venezuelan rafters were intercepted in 2016. Rodríguez said there were an alarming 300 or more people that attempted to escape by sea.

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