Monday, January 28, 2019

The Pirates of the Caribbean: the 200 Horses Indicator

Remember this guest post from Claude Berube last May?
In this highly-trafficked area, tourist destinations such as Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada are within two hundred kilometers of the Venezuelan coastline. At what point, however, would southern Caribbean piracy merit attention?
Well, like I tell everyone; if you want to know what will happen tomorrow, read CDRSalamander today.

If your idea of a tropical paradise is based on what you've seen in tourist brochures, the coastline of south-west Trinidad will not disappoint. Golden beaches and coconut groves? Tick. Sleepy villages, full of fishermen snoozing under palm trees? Tick. A relaxed, laid-back vibe? Hmm. Actually, no.

Take a closer look in villages like Fullarton, and you'll notice a few things seem out of place. For one, why have so many of the fishermen got 200 horsepower engines on their boats, when 75 is more than enough? And why, when they go out fishing at night, do none of them put lights on any more?
When you have mouths to feed ...
The answer, as fisherman Gerry Padarath explains from his beachside hammock, is pirates.
He gestures out to sea, where across a stretch of mud-brown water another coastline can be seen. It's mainland Venezuela - which, at its closest point, lies just 20km (12 miles) from Trinidad.

In happier times, ferries used to bring groups of Venezuelan tourists to party in Trinidad. Today, though, as Venezuela slides further into all-out economic collapse, its impoverished coastal ports have become modern Hispaniolas - havens for buccaneers.
Socialism strikes again;
Most of the pirates are ex-fishermen, who used to make a good living catching tuna, octopus and shrimp in the Caribbean's warm waters. But under Venezuela's former president, Hugo Chavez, the fishing industry underwent a well-intentioned but disastrous nationalisation programme, prompting companies to relocate abroad.

With the added blow of hyperinflation, many of the fishermen now have no job and no way to feed their families. They do however have access to boats and to guns, which are in ready supply on Venezuela's increasingly lawless streets.
This is sad in so many ways.

How many more examples do people need that the false promises of socialism - really just a pitch to the poor in order to enable a power grab by a few - brings only poverty and strife?

Venezuela used to be the richest country in Latin America.

Bad governments run on bad theories lead to bad results.

H/t Claude Berube.

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