Lo que nos faltaba. Maracaibo newspaper La Verdad just ran this stunning piece on the latest innovations of Zulian criminality. Pirates are now working the Lago de Maracaibo. Like, actual pirates.
[Enter favorite pirate joke here…]
Now it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Ask Andry Nava. The 42-year old local fisherman actually lost one of his eyes after being shot by one group of local pirates. Even with just one eye, the guy needs to make a living. And what’s worrying him now is that the attacks are putting his livelihood under threat:
“We can’t work with those criminals around. Every time we set sail, we commend ourselves to God hoping we can come back alive.”
Acting at night, groups of 3 to 5 pirates head out to hold up boats and steal outboard motors from local fishermen. They then hold them for ransom. The state oil company PDVSA has denounced that those groups have sabotaged their operations in the Lake.
As noticed in this El Nacional article from last year, lack of action from the National Guard and the Navy (whose job it is to keep territorial waters safe) have forced the fishermen to organize and arm themselves in order to protect their lives and work.
It’s not quite on the scale of what’s happening in Somalia: their coast is right next to one of the most important commercial maritime routes and the world, and it doesn’t help not to have a government. But just like in Somalia, the situation in the Lago shows that the simple formula applies here, there and everywhere:
Ineffectual Security Forces + Water = Pirates.