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They spent a week on an island in Los Roques with prostitutes who had come from Spain and almost all got it.
A week of partying and excesses on a paradise island in the Caribbean, with drugs and prostitutes from Europe. That was the origin of a coronavirus outbreak among the children of the Venezuelan ruling elite.
To date, the virus has killed seven people in Venezuela and 166 were infected , according to official figures. However, the chances that the pandemic will overwhelm the capacity of a severely weakened health system, in which hospitals run out of water, electricity and supplies, are high.
It is unclear how many people were infected last month in the Los Roques archipelago. But that noisy party raised concern at the highest level of the government and sparked condemnation from Venezuelans who have been locked up in their home for weeks.
Three days later, when uncomfortable posts on Instagram leaked with the hashtag #CoronavirusParty, he minimized the fact.
“Who is going to criticize a party? They didn’t know they were sick, ”said Maduro, who was accused of drug trafficking by the United States last month.
In Latin America, the most unequal region in the world, the elites who made luxury trips are blamed for importing the virus. In Mexico, for example, nearly twenty people got it after a ski trip in Vail, Colorado.
In Venezuela, punished by a shortage of food and medicine that forced 5 million inhabitants to flee, lavish celebrations generate outrage . Those pockets of wealth are also harder to see amidst the relentless propaganda extolling the working poor.
The Los Roques parties were organized by several businessmen linked to the government , according to two people with knowledge of the meetings who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, according to journalist Joshua Goodman of the AP agency.
Although neither of the two people who spoke to The Associated Press was present at the party, they did attend or other meetings with the same group and are in contact with several of those who attended.
Among the youth was Jesus Amoroso, the son of Maduro’s top anti-corruption official , who was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. for allegedly weakening Venezuelan democracy.
The two people said that Venezuelan prostitutes from Madrid and London were flown to Venezuela just before flights to Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, were suspended.
A smaller group stumbled across two famous Puerto Rican reggaeton artists, Zion and Justin Quiles , who appear with Amoroso on a speedboat in photos and videos from social media.
A spokeswoman said Zion and Quiles were on the island to shoot a video and did not attend any social events. Both tested negative for the virus.
In a country ravaged by misery, Los Roques is an oasis for the few who can afford it, including collaborators and relatives of high officials who travel in private planes to that group of tiny islands.
Island parties have become more popular in both Miami, Madrid and New York are now unreachable due to US sanctions that blocked access to bank accounts abroad and easy travel. Maduro’s children are from the game, according to the two people, although neither attended the most recent party.
The party with pink cocaine
In general, 2C-B psychedelic drugs , known as “pink cocaine” for their high price and the pink powder they are made from, are used at parties, the two people said.
One of them provided a video of the last party, in which women in bikini were seen dancing on March 11 in a house by the sea rented to an exiled Venezuelan banker.
According to a third person with knowledge of the situation, the next day a larger group set out in various boats to a popular site that the local inhabitants call “Corrupted Key.” They did not know that the virus was spreading.
“Without a doubt, one of the girls had the virus and nobody knew it,” said a local resident who attended the parties in a leaked audio message on social media. The person, whose authenticity was verified by one of the two people who used to attend the parties, related how he and his girlfriend had to be evacuated with a high fever . He said six people tested positive.
The party ended with a hangover: everyone was tested and some, embarrassed, closed their social media accounts. Others defended their actions.
Gossipers. Take advantage of the quarantine and get down to business, ”Jesús Amoroso replied on Instagram with a photo that showed him in front of a luxury SUV.
Last week, police arrested several people who had been in Los Roques , including the alleged madam of high-flying prostitutes, after interrupting a multi-day party at a Caracas mansion. Agents found a gun, ecstasy pills, and eight women who were part of a suspected prostitution ring, according to the police report.
Of the 18 arrested for violating Maduro’s ban on holding mass gatherings, two tested positive for the virus, according to police.
The scandal still irritates the inhabitants of Petare, an emergency neighborhood in Caracas. Miguel Rengifo, who drives a motorcycle taxi, said he was appalled at reports that the wealthy were throwing parties while the country was in quarantine.
“We have a hard time eating, but they are free, drinking, running after the girls, not thinking twice about the rest of us,” said the 38-year-old man. “Here, we fight only to survive.”
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