CABIMAS, Venezuela — Prized oil wealth once pumped from Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo has turned the vast body of water into a polluted wasteland as boom turns to bust.
Nobody lives as closely with the environmental fallout as hundreds of crab fishermen who scratch out an existence on its perpetually oil-soaked shores.
Production in Venezuela has crashed to a fifth of its high two decades ago, leaving behind abandoned and broken equipment.
Crude oozes from hundreds of rusting platforms and cracked pipelines throughout the briny tidal bay.
Fishermen scrub oil from blue crabs before they’re shipped to the United States and elsewhere.
The fishermen wash oil from their skin with raw gasoline.
Lenin Viera says it seems like the end of the world, but if they don’t work, their families don’t eat.
Scott Smith, The Associated Press