New Pirates of Caribbean Are Terrorizing Fishermen in Trinidad

Crash of Venezuela economy has brought terror back to the high seas.

Fisherman, Grande Riviere, Trinidad. (Photo by Marka/UIG via Getty Images)
Fisherman, Grande Riviere, Trinidad. (Photo by Marka/UIG via Getty Images)

Pirates from Venezuela are terrorizing local fisherman in Trinidad.

“We’re all scared of them now,” Gerry Padarath, a local fisherman, told the BBC. “There’s been about 50 fishermen in the village who’ve had run-ins with them, either being robbed or kidnapped. Our only chance is to fish in the dark, so they don’t see us, or buy bigger engines so we can outrun them,” he explained.

Venezuela, at its closest point, is located just 12 miles from Trinidad.

At first glance villages in Trinidad like Fullarton look like the ideal spot for vacationers — beautiful beaches, hammocks for napping and coconut groves. But they are also a paradise of a different sort for pirates.

Fishermen cut the lights to stay invisible while fishing at night and their overpowered engines (75 horsepower would due) are their only means for escape if pirates stumble upon them.

Back before decades old gang wars and economic turmoil took root in Trinidad, the proximity to Venezuela was great for the local economy as tourist flocked to the tiny island for a night or two of partying.

However, with increasing gang and drug violence and further economic collapse, fisherman are losing their jobs and turning to other forms of work, legal or not, to sustain life.

“With the added blow of hyperinflation, many of the fishermen now have no job and no way to feed their families,” the BBC reported. “They do however have access to boats and to guns, which are in ready supply on Venezuela’s increasingly lawless streets.”

One victim, Candy Edwards, says he was held ransom for $35,000 by pirates.

“They jumped on board and tied us up,” he told the BBC. “Then they took us off to Venezuela and held us in a cage in some woods. They demanded a $35,000 ransom to release us. The community here in Icacos had a whip round and we were freed after seven days. But I was so scared I didn’t go back to sea for a year.”

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