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Venezuela Almost Back to Normal

By doina — last modified Mar 01, 2003 12:58 PM

Published: 2003-03-01 12:58:40
Countries: Venezuela

Venezuela, almost "business as usual". Status 26.02.2003

(this is an updated version of previous report, Latest News From Venezuela & Bonaire )

General

Though the political situation is still not resolved, life has gone back to almost normal. Especially sailors will hardly feel any changes from the Venezuela they have known over the years. Diesel, Gasoline, LPG, food and beer is freely available on Isla Marguerita and Puerto de la Cruz. In Caracas and Maracaibo there might still be minor shortages. While the Puerto de La Cruz refinery never stopped production, even Palito and Amuay's refinery have started to work again. By mid March there should be no fuel shortages any longer. According to the government, production has reached 2 Mill Barrels/day again, compared to the 3,2 Mill Barrels before the strike. Banks, supermarkets, schools, cinemas and fast food chains are working as normal. Domestic flights and ferry boats are running as usual again. But with all this positive news one has to understand that some of the most popular "strike leaders" were put in jail and President Chavez has said more will be arrested. That is still causing tension on the political scene.

Puerto de la Cruz

The General Manager of Bahia Redonda Marina, Mr.Carlos Vasquez, has informed us, that the marina runs business as usual. No shortages. No security problems. From January to June the marina charge is 0,24 US cent/ft/day incl electricity and water.

There have been incidents reported from the small islands off Puerto de la Cruz and we do not recommend staying there even during day time. Sailing through does not seem to be a problem, but going ashore has caused attacks also on a German family with children.

Los Testigos

Business as usual. Thefts have been reported from boats anchored away from the beaten track. It might pay off to stay together a bit. This has little to do with the remaining political problems.

Isla Marguerita

With ferry boats and domestic flights working as usual, everything seems to be back to normal. Contact Juan Baro for more details in Pampatar when he does your clearance.

Los Roques

Business as usual. Clearence fees are 120 US/boat plus 10 US/person for 14 days stay maximum. To see the authorities you have to go to Roques. No clearance in the outer islands possible, though there is a coastguard station on southern Dos Mosquises/Westernmost Los Roques, which works as a sub-station to the authorities on Grande Roque. Don't count on any supplies on Los Roques, though you might get lucky to find the odd thing for a price.

Los Aves de Barlovento

Fewer boats than in the past years probably due to the general situation in Venezuela and the decline in number of boats in the Caribbean. No stores available. Only few roving fishermen overnighting occasionally. No problems with them reported, going lobster price is 4 US/kg. Coca Cola, food and dive or snorkel gear is the best thing to barter.

DO NOT supply fishermen with Aspirin to treat decompression sickness !!! They are diving with so called "hookers", stationary compressors on the boat with a long hose attached. A treatment with Aspirin might thin their blood to a degree where they are seriously injured or killed. Only pure, clinical Oxygen would help them on the spot.

Los Aves de Sotavento

Same as on Barlovento above, but there is a friendly coastguard station on Isla Larga and they might come to see your passports and ask about the seaworthiness of your vessel. We could not help to smile as they showed up in a tinny which would hardly pass any test of seaworthiness itself. However, the officers were most friendly and correct.

In conclusion, no new incidents or piracy attacks are known to us for the moment. Treated with a bit of care, this is still a fantastic cruising ground.

Lilly Vedana, Thomas Mueller

Yacht MIZ MAE 26th February 2003

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