Downstream from Icabarú, one can see more deforested mining sites along both banks of the Icabarú, and also another settlement with an unpaved landing strip. At the confluence of the Icabarú and Caroní rivers there is a small settlement with a dirt runway for light aircraft, and one can also see mining sites located inside, as well as outside of Canaima National Park. Miners die on a regular basis as a result of being buried alive as flimsy cliffs collapse from the action of pressurized water jets ejected by the monitors used in the hydraulic mining method
Far from being a legal activity that would bring in revenue to the National Treasury, the coltan mining operations are nothing more than an activity that is totally immersed in corruption and has as its purpose the enrichment of individuals: military officers, politicians, financial backers and technocrats, most of whom are partial to the regime, and members of the Colombian guerrilla forces, who use this as a way to finance the operations of their criminal organization. At the cost of causing highly deleterious impacts on society, this activity has no purpose other than to fill the pockets of these players and further promote their other illegal operations.
In the initial SOS Orinoco report, published in July of 2018, describing mining activity inside Canaima National Park (CNP), a World Heritage Site (WHS) recognized by UNESCO, the authors characterized and explained this phenomenon as being a consequence of the current Venezuelan government’s political strategy of promoting mining activity amidst an economic, social and political collapse that the regime itself has created and promoted. This document is an update of that first report, where the authors endeavored to describe what has happened in CNP and what has been the institutional response from UNESCO, IUCN and the Venezuelan government itself.
The Alto Orinoco – Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve (RBAOC) comprises one of the geographical areas of greatest cultural diversity in the entire Amazon; Indigenous communities of 17 different ethnic groups live there. Each of these peoples is the bearer of a unique cultural heritage, and as a whole they give an extraordinary universe of linguistic diversity, worldviews, mythologies, history, art and ancestral knowledge, which are a true, unique and irreplaceable contribution to Humanity through the conservation of socio-diversity and biodiversity.
Two thousand hectares of Yapacana National Park’s surface is being subjected to gold mining activity, a case of extreme ecocide. The impact on its ecosystems manifests itself not only on the surface area that has been directly destroyed but also as the radial and expansive effects caused by the more than 2,000 miners currently occupying the national park. This makes Yapacana the national park that, without a doubt, has suffered the highest level of destruction.
In recent years there has been an increase in information pertaining to a boom in gold mining activity within Canaima National Park (CNP), a World Heritage Site (WHS). Furthermore, this situation falls within the context of a strategic policy of the current Venezuelan government that promotes mining activities over vast geographic areas, and encompasses all mining categories.