By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
Written by Venezuela Investigative Unit
The sinking of a small boat heading from Venezuela to Curaçao and the disappearance of all the migrants aboard suggest that drug trafficking groups are also controlling human smuggling routes in the region.
On June 7, the group of 32 migrants, along with three crew members, set sail from Punta de Aguide in Venezuela’s Falcón state, on the Caribbean coast. On June 11, the boat was was declared missing, and a month later, the whereabouts of it and its passengers remain unknown.
The disappearance was reported as a shipwreck, an increasingly common disaster in the Caribbean as Venezuelans resort to desperate measures to flee the country. So far this year, three shipwrecks involving over 80 migrants have been reported.
After the latest shipwreck, family members reported that all the migrants had been wearing life-jackets. Yet only one body has been recovered to date — that of Elio Ramones, identified in Curaçao on June 12. To the surprise of authorities, his corpse seemed fresh, suggesting that the man had died several days after the supposed shipwreck.