Puerto Escondido, a forgotten town on Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula where water has never reached

Puerto Escondido, a forgotten town on Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula where water has never reached

 

Puerto Escondido, a small town located on the Paraguaná Peninsula in Falcón State, is a fishing town that lives up to its name, because its existence is hidden from the rulers in power.

Irene Revilla / Correspondent lapatilla.com





In this remote town they do not know what is to have water that comes through pipes, there is no public transportation or connectivity and they suffer blackouts that can last up to three days.

In those dark moments at night, from Puerto Escondido you can see the lights of the island of Aruba, which is located just off its coast, and its residents can dream that they are on the other side just by turning on the radio and listening to the programs in Papiamento.

Very few new houses have been built in the town, mainly by local families that are growing. They live from fishing and raising goats and sheep, which they use to exchange with tankertruck drivers for drinking water or any product they need.

A perennial drought

 

Puerto Escondido, a forgotten town on Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula where water has never reached

 

The inhabitants of this area lack public transportation, so to go anywhere they need to walk to the neighboring town, a journey that can take about three hours.

When traveling along the main road that connects these distant towns, it is very common to come across people asking for rides to wherever they can be transported.

Most of the inhabitants of Puerto Escondido leave before dawn to reach their destinations, whether it be the place where they study, a healthcare center or a shop.

Young people who find work in other towns in Paraguaná or in Punto Fijo, move to these areas and start a new life and go back to their family homes only when they have days off, since the lack of transportation and connectivity prevents them from being in touch with their relatives.

Lapatilla.com visited the place and confirmed the complaints of the inhabitants of the area, who voiced the need to have drinking water, which is a promise of all the governments that come to seek votes, but that none has fulfilled.

“We have never had piped water. We are in need due to lack of water. The tanker trucks sell it to us for 10 dollars per thousand liters (almost 4 U.S. dollars a gallon), many times we exchange it for fish. When we don’t have it, we have to buy brackish water, which is cheaper but can’t be drunk. They have promised many things here, but no one delivers. They forget that we are here. Just now Mayor Harold Dávila once managed to get the shrimp farms to supply us with water and well we got along with it,” said a woman who preferred not to be identified.

Promises a ie in the sky

 

Puerto Escondido, a forgotten town on Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula where water has never reached

 

Just as the needs abound and it is an almost forgotten town, its inhabitants feel great fear of speaking to the press, because boats leave the area trying to enter the island of Aruba clandestinely, often with illicit goods and loaded with migrants seeking to settle on the island. “We look prettier when we are quiet,” said another woman from the town.

The families, although they know each other and help each other, try not to have contact or be in areas where there are strange movements or people who are not local.

In August 2022, the largest beach festival in Venezuela: “Adícora Fest” was inaugurated in Adícora Bay. President Nicolás Maduro was at the event, accompanied by the governor of Falcón, Víctor Clark, and his entire cabinet.

From there, he offered to convert the entire coastal strip up to Cabo San Román (the northernmost point of South America), into a place for the enjoyment of locals and visitors, but to date only some beaches have been cleaned, although what the people need most is the improvement of all public services.

“The roads to get here are full of holes, they have no names or signage. The towns that have it, it is because they have done it themselves. We do not have a telephone signal, what we do is that whoever has satellite internet and can pay for it, lends the Wi-Fi signal for a while to a neighbor who needs to communicate urgently. The poles are falling, full of gunk, and the “guayas” (cables) break every time there is a strong breeze and we splice them ourselves, because Corpoelec does not come to these parts,” the woman lamented.

Changing realities

 

Puerto Escondido, a forgotten town on Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula where water has never reached

 

For his part, the opposition mayor of the Falcón Municipality, Harold Dávila, explained that the El Vínculo parish is one of the nine that belong to the Falcón municipality and the most affected by public service deficiencies.

A palpable example is Puerto Escondido, although the other communities in the area share the same needs.

During two years of administration, Dávila has done everything in his power to ask for help from the state government and the National Executive, and thus address the needs of public services in these areas that live isolated and forgotten, but he has not received answers.

“This is the product of years of laziness, of lack of attention. I have barely been in the mayor’s office for two years, we have made our diagnoses, we have wanted to change realities by transforming areas in both the electrical and water subjects. The El Vínculo Parish has not had water for decades. However, we enabled a desalination plant last year and last Saturday a tanker truck was delivered to this parish so that a water distribution schedule by tanker could be made. It is a solution for our people,” he said.

He assured that the municipality has many tourist benefits, which have even been promoted through the mayor’s office with tourist, religious, cultural and sports routes, but the participation of national and regional authorities is needed.

“And of course, the municipal authorities are open to creating synergy to adapt public services. The power lines and everything related to electrical matters in this municipality is a disaster, because there has been no maintenance. There is no electricity, the poles are falling, there is no water. That is what we have to deal with, that is what we are fighting against to change reality,” he concluded.

The people of Puerto Escondido hope that the same attention that has come to Adícora and that has been a promise for years, will one day reach this hidden corner of Paraguaná and they will finally be able to improve their quality of life.