Venezuelans Seek Treasure in Polluted River
Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America.
Today, images of poor Venezuelans eating from food waste in Caracas are evidence of the country's deepening economic crisis.
Young men and boys often search the dirty waters of the Guaire River for small pieces of metal that might help feed their families.
One of those young men is 26-year-old Angel Villanueva. He searches the dirty, brown water for lost rings or other objects he may be able to trade for money.
"Working in the Guaire isn't easy," he told the Associated Press. "When it provides, it provides. When it takes, it takes your life."
The waters of the Guaire are known for being filthy. The river acts as a drain. It carries away rainwater from the streets and sewers, as well as industrial waste.
Alejandro Velasco is a native of Caracas and teaches Latin American history at New York University. He says ,"As long as I can remember, the Guaire was this open sewage. It certainly seems to reflect the depth and extent of the desperation that this particular crisis has spawned."
Venezuelans have lived under socialist rule for nearly 20 years. During that period, food and oil production have dropped sharply. Poor organization of state resources and a drop in world oil prices have made many Venezuelans desperate.
Each morning, people go to the Guaire River from nearby neighborhoods to search for treasure. Some cover their fingertips in tape to protect from cuts and infections. They largely ignore any possible long-term health effects from standing in dirty water for hours each day.
Calls to clean up the river and the large amount of money already spent have had no result.
In 2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recognized the river's filthy condition and promised a full cleanup.
Seven years later, the Inter-American Development Bank provided a $300 million loan to build wastewater centers and treat waste that goes into the river.
Nearly six years later, the water remains filthy. Bank officials refused to comment on the project. Venezuelan government leaders have also been silent on when the Guaire might be cleaned.
Some parts of the river smell of sewage. Other parts produce a toxic, harmful smell.
Most days, the treasure hunters go unnoticed by other people as they drive vehicles over the river on a major road.
Angel Villanueva lives with his father in one of the poorest and most dangerous parts of Caracas. The son wanted to earn money, but he could only get low-paying jobs, such as cleaning the streets. The lowest legal wage for public employees in Venezuela is less than $7 a month.
Food has become increasingly hard to find or very costly. One recent study estimated that 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of 8.7 kilograms last year.
Angel Villanueva first started searching in the river six months ago. His first day's work resulted in finding $20 worth of materials. People back in his neighborhood often tell him to keep away because he smells like the Guaire.
Villanueva dreams of leaving Venezuela to find a better job. But for now he is taking his chances searching for treasure in the river.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.economic crisis 经济危机
The war has aggravated an acute economic crisis.
2.keep away 远离
Keep away from the doors while the train is moving
3.an average of 平均...
The boats remain at sea for an average of ten days at a time.
4.public employees 公职人员
Public employees, teachers and liberals are circulating a petition for his recall.
5.Calls to clean up the river and the large amount of money already spent have had no result.
clean up 清理
After years of neglect and decline the city was cleaning itself up.
Nina and Mary were in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner.
6.He says ,"As long as I can remember, the Guaire was this open sewage.
As long as 只要
As long as I deliver the goods, my boss is very happy.
He has been on a diet for as long as any of his friends can remember
26岁的Angel Villanueva就是其中之一 。他在浑浊、棕色的水沟中寻找别人遗失的戒指或其它能交易的物品 。
他对美联社表示：“在Guaire河中淘金并非易事 。走运的话，能淘到值钱物品，不幸的话，命丧河中 。”
Guaire河水因肮脏而闻名 。这条河充当着下水道，这里流经着街道和下水道的雨水，还有工业废水 。
Alejandro Velasco是加拉加斯本地人，在纽约大学教授拉美历史 。他说：“打我记事起，Guaire河就是露天式的下水道 。它似乎反映了这场特定危机所催生的绝望的深度和广度 。”
委内瑞拉人在社会主义统治下生活了近20年 。期间，食品和石油产量大幅下降 。国家资源组织监管不善及全球石油价格下跌让许多委内瑞拉人深感绝望 。
每天早上，附近社区的居民都会到Guaire河淘金 。有些人用胶带缠着指尖防止划伤和细菌感染 。他们大多忽视了每天数小时泡在污水中可能产生的长期、有害健康的影响 。
约莫6年后，河水仍然肮脏不堪 。银行官员拒绝对该项目置评 。委内瑞拉政府领导人也绝口不提Guaire河何时才能完成治理 。
Angel Villanueva和父亲居住的地方是加拉加斯最贫穷和危险的地区之一 。Villanueva想赚钱谋生，但是他只能从事低薪职业，如清理街道 。委内瑞拉公共雇员的最低法定工资是每月7美元 。
在这里，食物愈加稀缺或非常昂贵 。最近一项研究估计，去年，75%的委内瑞拉人的平均体重下降了8.7公斤 。
6个月前，Villanueva开始了淘金之旅 。开工首日他找到了价值20美元的金属 。他的邻居经常警告他离远点，因为他身上散发着Guaire河的恶臭 。