On Monday, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, urged the media to report more extensively on the advances to eradicate illegal mining made by the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) in the south of the country.
“I encourage the FANB [and] the Strategic Operational Command of the FANB (CEOFANB) to defend the Amazon,” said President Maduro during a broadcast of Con Maduro+, “and I also encourage the television and radio media to monitor and support this battle that is being fought in defense of sovereignty.”
For years, ultra-left-wing critics and conservative media outlets have claimed that the Orinoco Mining Arc, a proposal draw up by the administration of President Maduro in 2016 to eradicate illegal mining and regulate legal mining exploitation, is the cause of virtually all environmental problems in the South American country, despite the initiative’s intention.
President Maduro stated that, in recent years, a battle is being fought in the south of the country against those who try to disrespect the laws and create illegal mining camps, affecting the National Parks and the Venezuelan Amazon.
“The commander of CEOFANB (Domingo Hernández Lárez) is responsible, with his general staff, and the mandate is that all the national parks and the Venezuelan Amazon must be cleaned of illegal mining, that the laws must be respected, and that we must guarantee healthy national parks [and] Amazon rainforest,” said President Maduro.
The FANB has been deployed in all national parks and forest reserves in the security and defense zones in Bolivar state in order to protect the environment and combat illegal activities such as illegal mining. Meanwhile, Latin American leaders are working in tandem to address this issue that affects all Amazon basin countries. A summit is expected to be held soon in Brazil under the leadership of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
🔥 #OPERAÇÃOPF | PF destrói balsas destinadas à atividade de garimpo ilegal no Amazonas. Em ação conjunta com o @ibamagov , nesta segunda-feira (19/6), foram identificadas e inutilizadas 4 balsas usadas no garimpo ilegal de ouro.
— Polícia Federal (@policiafederal) June 19, 2023
This Monday, Brazilian authorities declared the Yanomami indigenous territory “free of illegal mining” following the results of various military operations deployed in recent months against illegal miners aiming to put an end to their illegal activities in Indigenous territory. Approximately 20,000 illegal miners (garimpeiros) have been expelled from the region.
“The Yanomami territory is free of illegal mining,” announced President Lula on his social media accounts. According to data from the Federal Police, alerts for deforestation caused by mining have decreased drastically since the beginning of the year until none were registered in the first half of June.
This Yanomami territory is shared with Venezuela in the state of Amazonas, and the area has been plagued by illegal mining activities. Previous governments had failed to root out the practice since it was declared a security and environmental issue affecting the border area in the 1980s. Illegal mining frequently occurs in other territories rich in precious minerals, such as gold and diamonds, across Latin America.
(Alba Ciudad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune