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text: M Svantesson
Vi har kommit över en ny gratistidning, El Golfo, som ges ut av vad vi förstår är turistrådet i Camara-Venezuela. Nedan text är en direkt avskrift ur nr 1:2001. Vi känner inte till att det finns en senare upplaga av tidningen än denna. Texten upprör, förvånar och skrämmer oss. Hur känner du?
Camara de Turismo - Fondoturismo
In addition to efforts already being made by authorities on security issues for tourists and for people cruising on boats, it is good to follow some rules and to act prudently.
For instance, skippers are sometimes approached by fishermen and politely asked to move their vessel because the fishermen would like to set nets there. If the skipper refuses to move or demonstrate hostility, it is any wonder that some fishermen might react with animosity or possibly even aggression, since fishing is their livelihood? This some skipper might arrive in Trinidad or another port, tell his friends his version of the story, which may result in further misinformation.
Think also about skippers who anchor their yachts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars near the poor districts of Cumana or Carupano. To people living in poverty, this is certainly a temptation that could be avoided. Indeed, if you put your vessel in such an area, it is more likely you may be robbed. Would you go for a walk at night in bad areas of New York City or London, dressed like a wealthy foreigner, with an expensive digital camera in hand?
To relate a true incident, a vessel, whose name and skipper will remain anonymous, was approached peacefully by fishermen selling fish, and this skipper came on deck wielding a shotgun. This same boat also made occasionally charters in view of the same fishermen, who may have seen this as a conflict for business for local boat operators. It is, by the way, illegal for foreign yachts to do professional charters with Venezuelan clients. To top it off, this same sailboat left that anchorage without paying for water it had received. Upon returning, the boat met with problems including attempted theft. This is not to condone theft, but to portray how some problems develop. Had the crew of the sailboat acted differently, the problems may have been avoided. People need to use common sense and try to keep all in perspective.
We could go on with incidents like this. Suffice it to say that there are some real security problems that exist but not many, and some are complicated. The National Guard, the Coast Guard, and local authorities are stepping up their efforts to improve security. For the year 2001, the effort in the Sucre State is going to be focused primarily in the Gulfo of Cariaco. The objective is simple: Zero aggression in the gulf. For other areas, avoid big cities and their big populations unless you are in a secure marina. Avoid other areas that we indicate are unsafe.
Your presence here can benefit small villages of fishermen. It will help if you try to learn a few words in Spanish like greetings and basic questions, make friends with local people, offer them a few cigarettes if you have, and your visit will likely be enriched and more secure. Beyond this, if you still feel unsafe, travel with some other boats.
With regard to the Gulf of Cariaco, 90% of the gulf is safe and the remainder should achieve a better level of security in the near future. If after all this, you are not prepared to live with a little risk, maybe it would be appropriate to consider selling your boat, this kind of adventure is probably not for you."