Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

They’ve inhabited the Venezuelan Delta for centuries, but now, the encroachment of oil and mining industries means the Warao people’s way of life is under threat. Photographer Adriana Loureiro Fernández pays them a visit.

The river is barely moving, lit by the last beams of the setting sun. People have gathered to take the last motor-propeled boat heading north of Delta Amacuro, Venezuela’s most remote northeastern state.

The Venezuelan Delta is the region where our longest river, the Orinoco, merges with the Atlantic Ocean. There’s little land there, most of it is swamped, as the river mouth penetrates everything above and below.

It’s also the land where one of Venezuela’s indigenous tribes, the Warao, have lived for centuries and their staple architecture is known for its adaptation to the environment. The palafito is a wooden shack designed to float over the water and endure its continued corrosion; and in Venezuelan culture, the Warao, their palafitos and the surrounding waters one and the same.