The Piaroa are suffering economically, according to a news report published last week in the online Venezuelan newspaper El Pitazo.

A Piaroa man and his daughter, Katherin
A Piaroa man and his daughter, Katherin (Photo by Orlandojosevc in Wikimedia, Creative Commons license)

The malaise is not just affecting the minority indigenous people. The reporter quoted a trade union leader, Yetzy Sira, who said that 40 percent of the employees in the government of Amazonas state in southern Venezuela have resigned their positions to take jobs in the mines, where they will receive much better pay.

Ms. Sira said that workers in low-paying positions such as jobs with the government can’t even afford to buy shoes to wear to work. In the words of the Google translation, she said, “nobody lives with such a precarious and miserable salary, amid so many necessities due to the high prices of the basic basket products.”

People in Atabapo municipality of Amazonas state
People in Atabapo municipality of Amazonas state (Photo by Veronidae in Wikimedia, Creative Commons license)

The reporter quoted a Piaroa woman, Lillisol Santiño Cancio, who said she had decided to quit her job with the Amazonas government after 10 years of service to take a position in a mine in Atabapo municipality. She decried the fact that the economy is getting much worse, forcing her, her husband, and their four children to move elsewhere and seek better conditions.

She explained to the reporter that while her salary from the job with the government, along with the earnings of her husband, used to be enough for the needs of the family, they can’t make it any longer. They cannot even afford to buy clothes for their children.

The article quotes other workers, including professionals such as an attorney, who have stopped working in the public sector due to the economic crisis that is affecting all of Venezuela. People are looking for work in other South American countries as well as in the nearby mines.