For three days, the indigenous community of Kanaimö closed the airport (landing strip) in Canaima National Park, protesting the destruction and havoc that illegal mining is causing at the riverbend of the Carrao River, part of the Canaima lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can find this video on their youtube channel explaining the situation in full detail.
They demand that Maduro, Arreaza and other government officials show their faces in Canaima, and take immediate actions to stop and the ongoing destruction that is currently eating up the national park.
Valentina Quintero – Venezuela’s tourism guru – was quick to spread the news on twitter . She has posted some photos so you can see just a taste of what’s going on – large deforested areas and craters, and you can even see some mining rafts. Andrés Izarra also denounced it on his twitter, (but as always, added his own personal dash of Chavismo Impertinence in the comments), saying “it’s the capitalists fault you see.” Bolivar’s Governor (who the Kanaimó community says is knowledgeable of all these happenings) stated that there was, in fact, ongoing ilegal mining activities in the park.
Nonetheless, Defense Minister Padrino López, lost all face contours in a freak accident, this while he assured the country that there was NO illegal mining in Canaima, that it was in fact eradicated last December. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
Last Wednesday the Kanaimö community reopened the airport, after a meeting with the Minister of Indigenous People, Aloha Núñez, the Minister of Tourism and the chiefs of REDI and ZODI. The talks have brought forth yet again, another call to set working groups with the community where they will once again discuss possible solutions to the problem.
What is happening in Canaima is essentially what is happening in all of Venezuela. Armed and very powerful groups, violent feudal lords, PRANES who own their territory and do as they please inside it – be it jails, “peace areas” or mining areas – rule the land. The National Guards simply act as gatekeepers to the hell within. They have neither the manpower nor firepower to face them, and most of the time, they partake in the illegal practices. No amount of workgroups, discussions, “rehabilitation” or “comeflorismo revolucionario” will deal with this problem effectively.
I’ve often wondered what will happen to Venezuela after chavismo has passed, How long will it take for the economy to recover, to rebuild and maintain the infraestructure, to bring our universities up to date, to bring down the homocide numbers. 5, 10, 20 years?
Doesn’t seem that long, because getting Canaima back to its pristine state will take much longer than that.