The Wider Image: They fled Venezuela's crisis by boat - then vanished
Children play on the beach shore of 'La Salina' area from where Maroly Bastardo, boarded a smuggler's boat and disappeared in the Caribbean Sea during an attempt to cross from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago, in Guiria, Venezuela, May 24. On April 2, Bastardo, the children, and her sister-in-law Katerin traveled 500 kilometers by taxi to the port of Guiria. Located on Venezuela's remote and lawless Paria Peninsula, the city is known as a hub of migrant tracking and drug running.
There they joined Berra's father, Luis, and his Uncle Antonio, who would also make the trip. The six settled into a rundown hotel above a Chinese restaurant to make final preparations. They hung out with a friend of Luis's, Raymond Acosta, a 37-year-old local mechanic.
Luis took charge of securing their places in a smuggler's boat. A construction worker, he and his wife had already emigrated to Trinidad and had helped other relatives make the journey in recent years.
Acosta said Luis had negotiated a price of $1,000 for all six members of the party: $400 payable up front, with the balance due in Trinidad, U.S. dollars only.
But as the departure approached, the smuggler jacked up the price. They would need an extra $500 cash up front. Rather than back out, Luis had his wife in Trinidad drain their savings, and he arranged for a contact there to transport the cash to Guiria. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado