Illegal Mining, Guerrillas & Disease in the Upper Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve 2019

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.

For centuries, the Yanomami and Ye’kwana peoples have lived in this territory. It is disconcerting to hear the denunciations and words of caution concerning the health problems that afflict the Yanomami, deforestation, and contamination resulting from illegal mining operations in their territories, as well as the recurrent cases of violence that miners inflict on the inhabitants, and the lack of protection for the indigenous communities (Grillet et al., 2018; Vi Rodríguez, 2018; LACCCB,2018), which leads one to ask: Is the RBAOC meeting its objective of conserving and protecting biodiversity while at the same me doing likewise for human beings? If the BR is not fulfilling its objectives, while the original inhabitants have been losing their culture year after year, and the natural heritage is not being used in a sustainable way, then what should be UNESCO’s role, and the Venezuelan State’s responsibility, in rectifying such a situation and ensuring that harmony is restored in this grand eco-socio-system?

The overwhelming process of social, cultural and ecological destruction, at the hands of miners and guerrilla groups eager for gold and power, with the support, active and passive, of the Venezuelan military and government, constitute an ecocide, an ethnocide and a genocide, in the process of development, which has global repercussions and that humanity cannot and should not tolerate.

  • Read the full report in English released by SOSOrinoco on November 7, 2019 “Illegal Mining, Guerrillas & Disease: The Revolution’s Legacy to the Indigenous Peoples of the Upper Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve in Venezuela’s Amazonia”
  • Lea el informe completo en español publicado por SOSOrinoco el 7 de noviembre, 2019 “Minería, guerrilla y enfermedades: El legado de la revolución a los indígenas de la Reserva de Biosfera Alto Orinoco-Casiquiare, Amazonas venezolano”

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.