MANAUS, Brazil — Bergassio Quiñonez knew he had to get his family out of Venezuela when his wife and two young daughters went without eating for four days.
Their home in Mariusa National Park, where Quiñonez and his family lived with about 600 other indigenous Warao people, was quickly becoming uninhabitable. Salt water was moving farther up the Orinoco River during the dry season, killing the freshwater fish they ate, and Venezuela’s political and economic crisis meant that store-bought food was also becoming scarce.
“Even if there was food on the shelves, nobody could afford it,” said Quiñonez, a teacher of the Warao language and culture, sitting with his legs crossed on a single, uncovered mattress in the corner of a room his family now shares with several other Warao from the same village.
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By Jill Langlois
Photos and video by Victor Moriyama for the Los Angeles Times
Originally published in the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 2017.