With Venezuela’s economy struggling to keep itself afloat, citizens of the country have taken to digging for gold in the areas surrounding the Angel Falls (especially Canaima National Park), Wall Street Journal has reported. Angel Falls, a major tourist attraction in the country, is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall.
Canaima National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is renowned for Angel Falls and rock formations that have provided geologists with evidence that South America and Africa were once a single continent.
Mining is illegal in Canaima National Park and although UNESCO has sent queries to the Venezuelan authorities regarding the national park, no response has been received regarding its protection.
“We the Pemon were always ecologists, the protectors of this land. But the situation has turned us into the destroyers of our own habitat,” said Abraham Sandoval, the mayor of a hamlet in the area. Pemon people had engaged themselves in green tourism before the economic crisis struck their country. The current gold rush has pushed the community away from their erstwhile profession.
Venezuelan officials have reiterated that mining in Canaima is prohibited in their public statements. However, the WSJ reporters found contradictory evidence when they visited the national park.
The US Treasury Department recently issued sanctions to ban American participation in the gold sector as it believes that the gold reserves will be exploited by Maduro regime to fulfil selfish interests.
Venezuela is facing its worst recession in history with its economy expected to contract by double digits for the third consecutive year.
Also Read: The Collapse Of Venezuela Under Socialism
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 999/year is the best way you can support our efforts.