By Eira Gonzalez.
The first indigenous capital of Venezuela, Paraguaipoa, celebrates its 140th anniversary in almost a total abandonment. The town has streets full of holes, there is no drinking water, the electricity is deficient, the health service is precarious, its stadium is full of bushes, the cemetery is in utter disrepair, and crime is rampant.
Locals describe the nostalgia and suffering that invades their hearts on this date, where they commemorate the 140 years of the foundation of this their city, inhabited mostly by Native Venezuelans of the Guajira ethnicity.
According to historians, on November 12, 1880, the federal territory of Guajira moved the capital from Sinamaica to Paraguaipoa, a parish in the current municipality of Guajira, which was formerly the municipality of Paez.
Today, on its anniversary, what you see is gasoline smuggling, people worried about being able to afford a kilo of rice for their lunch, and the Plaza Bolivar in utter desolation. People stated that the population of Paraguaipoa gets submerged in the abandonment of the municipal, regional and national governments.
The citizens miss those times when they would gather in the plaza to extol the work that the elders did in strengthening this Guajiro town.
Aura Palmar, an inhabitant of Paraguaipoa, expressed her sadness at seeing her hometown abandoned; she calls on the authorities to look at the needs of hundreds of families.
“As my town has changed, we can no longer go out at night because we got robbed, public lightning is in its worst moments, the hospital has no medical supplies, the stadium is full of bushes, the Guajira school group is falling apart. For God’s sake, where are the rulers who look at these needs that suffocate us day by day?,” Palmar claims.
For his part, Fermin Montiel, a constituent (pro-Maduro lawmaker) of the Guajira, explained that they are making links with government institutions to improve the conditions in which Paraguaipoa gets located.
“We know that we have a lot to do for this town, but we are joining efforts to answer the inhabitants,” Montiel said.
Despite the precarious situation of the people, its inhabitants assure that they will never change their homeland.
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.