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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Previously I had written that while most cruisers consider the Venezuelan mainland a no-go-zone I felt that the Islands of Los Roches and the Aves were relatively safe.

Last night we had dinner with a young French single-hander who related the following story of a recent encounter.

He was sailing from the Eastern Caribbean towards the ABC's when, at night, he detected a solid radar target running without lights and following at a distance of 3-5 miles that did not respond to a VHF hail. Feeling nervous he contacted the Dutch CG in Curacao, probably the Bonaire station, and arranged an hourly radio check-in.

After 3 hours the following vessel finally admitted that they were Venezuelan CG hoping that he would anchor at one of the Venezuelan Islands so that they could arrest and confiscate the boat.

We had previously heard reports of the Venezuelan CG demanding bribes up to $900.

Once the local CG become predatory then the entire country and their territorial waters become a no-go-zone.

In January we sailed from Aruba to Panama and gave Venezuelan waters a wide berth fearing pirates but perhaps we had more to fear from their CG!

Phil
 

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If I read your post correctly, you are saying the the CG actually said their plans were to wait for you (the French sailor) to anchor in Venezuelan territory so we can arrest you and confiscate your boat. That doesn't even make sense to me. If one is going to perpetrate a crime but then chooses not to, why would they make their intentions known on an open VHF channel? If I'm loitering around a convenience store and the clerk asks what I'm doing, I'm not going to say to all within 20 miles that I'm waiting for all customers to leave so I can rob you!
If there was a misinterpretation then I might believe it. If the CG said, "if you haven't cleared in and anchor illegally on an outer island you may be subject to arrest and your boat confiscated", that makes sense and wouldn't even be all that unusual is some places. Maybe there's more to the story. Maybe the CG has been to trying to do drug interdictions in the area. You were only told and able to relay one side of the story. Maybe it's an accurate account of events. I know I would use great caution in that area and hope that the story isn't true.
 

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A friend of mine told me he heard from a guy that was there that stuff relayed by a third party often has less value than direct experience.
 
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