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Venezuela: four useless, 28 lacking as boat sinks in Caribbean

13 January 2018

Rescuers off the northwestern coast of Venezuela are searching the Caribbean for survivors after a boat filled with Venezuelan migrants sank on its way to the island of Curacao. Early Wednesday four bodies washed up on the shore of Curacao, 45 miles (70 kilometers) from the mainland.

"An enormous wave broke the boat in two - in fact it was carrying too many passengers", said the family member, who asked not to be identified.

The overcrowded vessel sailed from San Jose de la Costa in the western Venezuelan state of Falcon before striking some rocks in the sea and sinking, naval officials said.

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The incident comes amid heightened tensions after President Nicolas Maduro ordered a trade blockade with Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire on Friday.

Curacao's government criticized the travel ban, saying in a statement that the "unilateral closure of the border with Venezuela does not fit with the search for better relations with our neighbour".

Maduro said he took the measure to fight trafficking groups that have helped cause severe shortages by smuggling Venezuelan products and minerals out of the county.

Venezuela: four useless, 28 lacking as boat sinks in Caribbean