For transporting food and entering their territory, authorities from the Ministry of Ecological Mining Development in Venezuela will charge Pemon native taxes in gold.
Spokesmen of the ministry sent a proposal to leaders of the indigenous communities informing them of a gold tariff to allow their inhabitants to continue mining in these areas. The new taxes charged include even a gram of gold for every 100 kilos of food that they carry in.
To this request from the national Government, the indigenous captains formed a Council of Chiefs and issued a document rejecting several of these demands.
In the response document, the Caciques -which means the chiefs of the tribes- explains the disagreement to this proposal, especially with the items about food, a fundamental right.
“In the Gran Sabana municipality, access to food is through the Pacaraima municipality of Brazil, in foreign currency, and at a high cost. The proposal is appreciated as if we were being charged to enter our habitat, our house,” reads the indigenous document.
Not all the inhabitants of these communities are engaged in mining; however, all must pay in the same way to enter and leave their lands. Likewise, the payment of the airfare has been made in gold for several years, they have no objection to this because it is the way they have to go out of their communities.
The Pemon natives also asked the share of income from mining in La Paragua, directed to the Pemon People’s Development Fund, and they have not received it yet.
To date, they have received no answer from the Ministry or the Corporation.