"There have been 53 oil spills in Venezuela this year through September, most of them concentrated on the Caribbean coast where massive government oil refineries operate with little environmental oversight.
The Venezuelan government rarely publishes records of oil spills or other environmental conflicts, making it difficult to track oil spills and coordinate appropriate responses.
The oil spills are doing incalculable damage to local ecosystems, which include mangroves and the estuary known as Lake Maracaibo.
It’s not unusual to see some rivers running black in Venezuela, or for fishermen to return home scraping dark sludge off their boots.
Crumbling infrastructure and a lack of government oversight in the petroleum-rich country have made oil spills an endemic problem along the coast, according to a report published this month by the Venezuelan Observatory for Political Ecology."