Caruzo: Environmentalists Look the Other Way as Oil Spill Ravages Venezuelan Shores

Children sail on a raft in the polluted waters of the Maracaibo Lake, in Maracaibo, Zulia
YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

CARACAS – An oil spill has unleashed a wave of devastation onto the shores of Venezuela’s Morrocoy National Park and its mangroves, gravely endangering its fragile ecosystem.

The lack of official information and accountability from the socialist regime gets in the way of assessing the extent of the damage, leaving Venezuelan citizens, and the world, with more questions than answers. Experts claim that the area could take up to fifty years to recover.

The alarms were first fired off during the first days of August of 2020, when reports of a spill of approximately 20,000 barrels of oil in the shores of Venezuela’s Falcon State began to surface. It was not until the August 10 that the regime admitted the spill had occurred at all. Experts estimate the accident is twice as large as the one that occurred on the African island-state of Mauritius in August.

Initial reports speculated that the spill had originated from a tanker. But after further research, the opposition-led National Assembly attributed the spill to an accident that originated in the crumbling El Palito refinery, having occurred between July 19 and 22, 2020. News of a failed reactivation of the facility in July coincided with the spill; operators shut down the refinery again mere hours later after a series of leaks sprouted in its catalytic cracking and distillation towers.

The spill is considered to be the world’s second-biggest in 2020 so far. The devastation to the ecosystems in the area is harrowing, with hundreds of maritime species endangered, as the spill occurred in a crucial time of the reproductive cycle of the corals that live in the area. The spill also endangers the livelihood of the local fishermen, who rely on their trade to provide sustenance for their families.

The Venezuelan Society of Ecology has officially requested permission to visit the affected areas from the regime’s authorities, receiving nothing but silence. Given the lack of a first-hand response from the regime, Venezuelan citizens took matters into their own hands to help clean up the disaster and save the emblematic National Park.

Lack of clear information and honesty from the socialist regime with regards to anything is something that doesn’t surprise anyone at this point, and this disaster is no exception. The regime’s institutions have downplayed the severity of the spill. The Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC) ensured that only one percent of the National Park was affected by the spill. The People’s Minister for Ecosocialism and Waters (yes, that’s a thing here), has not answered technical questions regarding the disastrous accident, such as the type of chemicals that spilled into the ocean, and has instead been more focused in producing propaganda videos that show how great of a job they are doing cleaning up and how contained the situation is.

Satellite pictures serve as evidence of an ongoing spill in the El Palito refinery. Oil spills have been a common occurrence for years. Morrocoy was affected by another oil spill in 2019 and, on August 22, collapsing equipment spewed sulfur and oil into Lake Maracaibo.

Maduro has often blamed capitalism for climate change and other environmental disasters, going as far as to say that socialism is “the only way to preserve the environment and the salvation of the human species.”

Before Maduro, the Supreme and Eternal Commander of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chávez (yes, that’s his official posthumous title) had an identical mindset; Maduro simply inherited the playbook from him.

The actions of the socialist regime of Venezuela, however, tell a different story, and with all of the country’s institutions either in the control of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) or stripped of power, one cannot expect any form of accountability whatsoever. Activist Greta Thunberg and the Greenpeace organization took some time off their busy agendas to dedicate one milquetoast tweet each to this disaster, but nothing more — not even denouncing the Venezuelan socialist regime or demanding any answers. Thunberg commented on the lack of official information.

In 2019, Maduro tried to praise the young activist for persisting through her “ásperberg,” although his characteristic grammar mishaps turned the compliment into comedic material.

Given the lack of public remark, Breitbart News reached out to both Greenpeace and Thunberg. Greenpeace Colombia, the chapter active closest to Venezuela, responded explaining that, as they are not active within Venezuela, they were limited in how they could respond to reports of a spill. Thunberg’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

A report from 2018 detailed the consequences of the ongoing recklessness at Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state-run oil company, revealing 856,722.85 barrels of oil spilled into the Venezuelan environment in a span of six years. The plummeting oil production and the country’s fuel starvation has led the socialist regime to desperately reactivate a crumbling oil industry that they themselves destroyed through their gross mismanagement, ideological politicization, and lack of qualified staff by whatever means necessary — the consequences of their misbegotten actions being accidents such as the Amuay tragedy, and the ecocide of our beaches and national parks.

The destruction of our environment under the watchful eyes of the PSUV is not limited to oil – there are other environmental disasters, such as the rampant illegal mining of gold in our mining arc, where human rights violations are part and parcel of the inhabitants of that area.

If only activists such as Thunberg and Greenpeace turned their attention towards these problems. Unfortunately, the silence from international organizations with regards to the Venezuelan regime’s ongoing ecocide only goes to help them cover everything up. From Venezuela, it is hard not to feel that, if disaster did not originate with America, it’s of no importance to these organizations.

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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