Coltan | The Venezuelan's Regime Smuggling of "Blue Gold" 2020

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.

The entire coltan mining and distribution chain in Venezuela operates cloaked in a haze of apparent legality, but is really nothing more than a completely criminal operation that we do not hesitate to categorize as “contraband,” and which involves mine operators, intermediaries and end customers. It operates like a mafia and includes generals and other officers of Venezuela’s National Bolivarian Armed Force (FANB), in addition to organized civilian groups that also participate in the commercialization of this precious ore, and are party to the smuggling activity connected with its extraction.

Nevertheless, Venezuela got off to a late start: it wasn’t until 2009 that President Chávez disclosed that there were “important” coltan reserves in the country. ‘That’s a mineral over which many wars have been fought in Africa, I don’t know how many, because it’s a strategic mineral, for building, among other things, these long-range rockets,’ he said.

“On that occasion, he did not specify projections regarding the reserves despite his assurances that they were ‘important.’ He also announced that the zone where the mineral was located, in the area of the Parguaza River in Bolívar, had been taken over militarily because the coltan was being mined illegally, and was being smuggled out.”

Source: Efecto Cocuyo (2016)

Our position on
the Orinoco Mining Arc

Arco Minero del Orinoco

The purpose of SOSOrinoco is to shed light on the existing body of work regarding the situation in the Amazonia and Orinoquia regions of Venezuela, to raise awareness of the tragedy that is occurring and to outline some urgent measures that need to be taken in order to halt the unfolding human and environmental disaster.