Pueblos indígenas de Venezuela protestan contra violentas mafias mineras

Venezuelan tribes protest against violent mining gangs

publicado originalmente por Survival.

 

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Los hotis en Venezuela y otros indígenas amazónicos dependen de la selva para sobrevivir, pero la minería ilegal la está destruyendo.

© Eglée Zent/Survival

Indígenas de Venezuela bloquearon la pista de aterrizaje del Parque Nacional Canaima, Patrimonio de la Humanidad de la UNESCO, en protesta por los mineros ilegales que destruyen sus vidas y sus tierras.

Durante la última década, la minería ilegal de oro, diamantes y otros minerales, que controlan en parte grupos armados que afirman pertenecer a la guerrilla colombiana de las FARC, ha proliferado como la pólvora por la Amazonia venezolana afectando a pueblos indígenas como los yanomamis, los hotis, los eñepas, los yekuanas y los arekunas.

Un portavoz arekuna dijo a Survival International, el movimiento global por los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y tribales: “La minería es un gran problema en nuestras tierras indígenas. La gente le está sacando mucho provecho a la mina en nuestra tierra y no están poniendo atención a la madre naturaleza que está reclamando su derecho. Hay sequía de quebradas por las máquinas que han metido en los ríos. Hay que cuidar la naturaleza; si no, todo el globo terráqueo sufrirá”.

El venenoso mercurio que se utiliza en la minería de oro está contaminando los ríos y está penetrando en los suministros de agua y alimento de los indígenas, y devastando su salud. En algunas comunidades indígenas la infiltración de mafias ha derivado en prostitución y alcoholismo.

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La minería ilegal ha arrasado las tierras de indígenas amazónicos de Venezuela.

© Valentina Quintero

Según datos arrojados por un estudio, la mayoría de las mujeres indígenas que viven junto al río Caura en la Amazonia registran niveles de mercurio por encima de los estándares internacionalmente aceptados.También desvelaba que una de cada tres mujeres presentaba un riesgo elevado de que sus hijos recién nacidos sufrieran desórdenes neurológicos.

Los indígenas han criticado al ejército de Venezuela por fracasar en el combate de la minería ilegal y por “crear un clima de terror y miedo”. Se conoce que algunos mandos están involucrados en el comercio ilegal de oro.

Mientras la Constitución venezolana reconoce los derechos de los pueblos indígenas a sus tierras ancestrales, pocos han recibido la titularidad oficial sobre sus territorios. El Gobierno ha anunciado que abrirá grandes zonas de la selva amazónica a la minería legal, incluida tierra indígena.

Los pueblos indígenas y tribales son los mejores conservacionistas y guardianes del mundo natural, pero sus tierras, recursos y mano de obra están siendo usurpados por las sociedades industrializadas en nombre del “progreso” y la “civilización”.

Originally published by Survival.

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The Hoti in Venezuela and other Amazon Indians depend on the forest for their survival. But their forests are being destroyed by illegal mining (photograph taken in 2014).
© Eglée Zent/Survival

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.

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Illegal mining has ravaged the lands of Amazon Indians in Venezuela.
© Valentina Quintero

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 recognises 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 industrialised societies in the name of “progress” and “civilisation.”

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