World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Venezuelan tribes protest against violent mining gangs

Venezuelan tribes protest against violent mining gangs

Venezuelan Indians blocked the landing strip of Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in protest at illegal miners destroying their lives and lands.

Over the last decade, illegal mining for gold, diamonds and other minerals – some run by armed gangs claiming to be members of Colombia’s guerrilla army FARC – has spread like wildfire through the Venezuelan Amazon, affecting tribes such as the Yanomami, Hoti, Eñepa, Yekuana and Arekuna.

An Arekuna spokesperson told Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, “Mining is a huge problem in our indigenous territories. The miners are extracting the riches of our land and the earth is crying out for help. Our rivers are drying up because of the mining. We must look after nature; if we don’t, the whole planet will suffer.”

Rivers are being contaminated with poisonous mercury used in gold mining, which is entering the Indians’ food and water supply and devastating their health. In some indigenous communities, the infiltration of gangs has led to prostitution and alcoholism.

A study found that the majority of indigenous women living along the Caura river in the Amazon had levels of mercury above internationally accepted standards. It also found that one in three women showed a high risk that their newborn children would suffer neurological disorders.

The Indians have denounced the Venezuelan military for failing to tackle the illegal mining and for “creating a climate of terror and fear.” Some officers are known to be involved in the illegal gold trade.

While Venezuela’s constitution recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral lands, few have received official title to their territories and the government has announced it will open up large parts of the Amazon rainforest – including Indian land – to legal mining.

Tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world, yet their lands, resources and labor are stolen by industrialized societies in the name of "progress"and “civilization.”


Read this online: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10819

Survival International is the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights. We help tribal people defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures. Founded in 1969.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: Chilling The Warm Fuzzies About The US/China Trade Deal

Hold the champagne, folks. This week’s China/US deal is more about a change in tone between the world’s two biggest economies – thank goodness they’re not slapping more tariffs on each other! - than a landmark change in substance. The high ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Iran Aftermath

So, evidently, you can get away with murder. It looks as though a further escalation in the ongoing war between Iran and the US has been avoided – mainly thanks to Iran NOT responding in kind to the recklessly unhinged behaviour by the United States. ... More>>

ALSO:

COP25 Ends: World Screams Out For Action But Climate Summit Whispers

“The world is screaming out for climate action but this summit had responded with a whisper. The poorest nations are in a sprint for survival yet many governments have barely moved from the starting blocks. Instead of committing to more ambitious cuts in emissions, countries have argued over technicalities." More>>

ALSO:

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

ALSO: