Documentary captures Venezuelan’s attempts to join smuggling trade as a means of survival

Jhan López
Jhan López Courtesy of Al Jazeera

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Far away from Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas, along the northeast coast of the nation, lies a coastal town struggling to feed itself.

Cradled in the Gulf of Paria, the town survives on fishing but almost everything else is smuggled to its shores from neighboring Trinidad and Tobago. With no end in sight to the political and economic crisis under President Nicolás Maduro, Jhan López is growing more desperate by the day.

This 25-minute documentary, Venezuela: Smuggling Dreams, captures the plight of a 28-year-old Venezuelan fisherman as he attempts to join the smuggling trade happening between the coasts of both nations.

Produced by Al Jazeera’s Witness program, the documentary follows López who, like his family, had expected that the government would send food and other daily necessities to his town as it used to. Nothing has arrived in months and Jhan has lost faith. The single-father is looking for alternative means to provide for his daughter and diabetic father.

He decides to try to join the smuggling trade. But there are many challenges that lie between López and the sacks of rice and medicine he desperately needs.