The Mining Arc causes devastation in 12%-plus of Venezuelan territory

The organization Kapé Kapé reported the environmental damage and human rights violations in the Orinoco Mining Arc, the gold mining project initiated by the Nicolas Maduro regime in 2016 and which comprises 12.2% of all of the lands in the country.

The Kapé Kapé organization describes devastating environmental impacts as consequences of illegal mining in the area. Photo by Kapé Kapé.

By Melquiades Ávila.

The Human Right observatory for natives communities, Kapé Kapé, published its 2019 report named Effects of illegal mining in indigenous communities, which shows the impact and consequences after four years of the creation of the project called National Strategic Development for the Orinoco Mining Arc.

The organization points out that the devastating effects on the indigenous populations and communities in the of the Mining Arc, which comprises the 12.2% of Venezuelan territory, according to, are increasingly visible.

The report published on the website states that today these practices are taking place in the southern states, specifically in the indigenous communities located in zones where the Mining Arc converges.

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In this place, countless and irreparable damages have been caused, following by harassment, persecutions, disappearances, torture, sexual abuse, forced migration, massacres, etc. Also, Kapé Kapé points out the severe environmental, ecological, and cultural damage to the native communities in the states of Amazonas, Bolivar, and Delta Amacuro.

Gold: Price of Survival in Indigenous communities

“Life in these places is about gold. There, the national currency, the bolivar, does not exist. In this criminal context, where mining activity takes place, all kinds of abuses and violations emerge, such as human trafficking and gender violence, sexual violence, child exploitation, persecutions, disappearances and massacres,” the NGO reports.

Women and children have been injured or even killed in many confrontations between armed groups for control of mining.

Girls and teenagers are used as commodities to buy and sell gold, both for work and sexual exchanges. Their value ranges from five to 10 grams of gold. The younger the girl, the higher is her price, reports Kapé Kapé.

The organization assures that women who resisted these abuses have been victims of harassment, kidnapping, and torture. Women and children have been injured or even killed in many confrontations between armed groups for control of mining.

The human rights group points out that the indigenous communities have shown total rejection of the consequences that mining has had on the environment.

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