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VENEZUELA-MIGRATION/
RTX6ZBIK
June 14, 2019
A taxi dropped Maroly Bastardo and her two small children by a cemetery not far from the shore in northeast...
El Tigre, Venezuela
The Wider Image: They fled Venezuela's crisis by boat - then vanished
A taxi dropped Maroly Bastardo and her two small children by a cemetery not far from the shore in northeast Venezuela. She still had time to change her mind. Eight months pregnant, Bastardo faced forbidding choices in a nation whose economy has collapsed. Give birth in Venezuela, where newborns are dying at alarming rates in shortage-plagued maternity wards. Or board a crowded smuggler's boat bound for Trinidad, the largest of two islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Her husband, Kennier Berra, had landed there in February, found work and beckoned her to join him. Bastardo's mother, Carolina, begged her to stay. Neither Bastardo or her children could swim. Barely three weeks earlier, 27 people had gone missing after a migrant boat went down in the narrow stretch of water separating Venezuela from Trinidad. The 20-kilometer strait, known for its treacherous currents, is nicknamed the Dragon's Mouths. But the 19-year old hairdresser was determined. On May 16, she and the kids packed into an aging fishing vessel along with 31 other people, including three relatives of her husband. They snapped cellphone photos from the shore near the port town of Guiria, where thousands of Venezuelans have departed in recent years, and messaged loved ones goodbye. The craft, the Ana Maria, never arrived. No migrants or wreckage have been found. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado SEARCH "BASTARDO VENEZUELA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: VENEZUELA-MIGRATION/
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