A Venezuelan refugee who had six relatives aboard a pirogue which disappeared on May 16 with 29 passengers which left Güiria for Chaguaramas is pleading for authorities in T&T and Venezuela to locate them.
Kender Berra, who has been living in this country for more than a year, believes the missing pirogue Ana María was hijacked.
Berra, who is originally from El Tigre, Anzoátegui state, told a Venezuelan news outlet he and his brother waited in vain on a wharf in Chaguaramas for the vessel to arrive.
On board were his father Luis Guanipa, 46, sister Katherine Berra, sister-in-law Maroly Bastardo, who is six months pregnant and her two children, Dyland, 3, and Victoria Berra, 2, along with his uncle Antonio Lopez, 44, he said in an interview with Tal Cual.
“It is impossible that on a boat with 29 passengers there was only one survivor, the captain. It is very strange that an entire vessel disappeared without a trace. If we were talking about the Bermuda Triangle, I would believe it, but this is Trinidad and Tobago,” Berra said.
“That is a trip that is made daily and after that boat, two more arrived. I saw one that arrived at three in the morning. I asked and they did not see anything, they did not know anything about that boat.”
Berra said he left Venezuela, which is mired in an economic and political crisis, along with his brother and his father in search of a better life in T&T. However, his father returned to Venezuela to bring other family members to T&T “because we sent them money but they never enough money.”
He said although it was a struggle to pay rent and cover other expenses in T&T, they worked and saved money to pay for tickets for their family members to travel from Güiria.
A month ago, they paid US$1,500 in boat fares to a man he identified as Juan Vega, the owner of a boat.
“His boat broke down, so he used another boat, for the trip,” Berra said.
At 4.36 pm May 16, he got a phone call from his father that they had left for Chaguaramas but he would not hear anything further until they arrived because he was turning off his phone.
His father’s last words to him were: “Amen, let’s go with God.”
Berra said he is desperate for information on the whereabouts of his loved ones.
“I’m worried, exhausted. I try to be strong for my mother and family. I think a lot about my mother . . . she is suffering a lot,” he said
Reporter: Suzanne Sheppard